I. Biological Description
Kajiki (Makaira nigricans) is commonly known as
Pacific blue marlin, or a‘u, the Hawaiian name
applied to all marlin species caught in Hawaii. This
species can get as large as 1,600 pounds in round
weight, but the usual size of fish marketed is
between 80 and 300 pounds in round weight. The
kajiki is distinguished from other commonly-caught
marlin species by its larger size, heavier bill, and
rougher, grey skin. It lacks the obvious stripes of the nairagi.
II. Of Special Interest For Buying/Distributing
Availability And Seasonality:
The heaviest landings of kajiki are during the summer and fall (June-
October), the period when schooling tunas, the favorite prey of kajiki, are often abundant in the
waters off Hawaii.
A favorite target of sport fishermen, kajiki are also caught commercially by
longlining from large boats and by trolling from smaller boats. The bulk of the sport catch comes from
the charter fishing fleets operating from Kona and Oahu. The Kona coast is a world famous location
for marlin fishing. Trolling usually produces the larger fish, whereas longlining often harvests fish with
higher fat content from deeper waters.
Sport rollers do not necessarily sell their kajiki catch. The portion that is sold may go
directly to retailers, wholesalers, processors, or restaurants, or may be marketed through the fish
auctions or intermediaries. Sportfishing tournaments in Kona often select a fish dealer for all the
tournament’s catch, but trophy-sized fish may be mounted rather than sold.
Virtually all of the longline catch and much of the commercial troll catch of kajiki off the island of
Oahu is marketed fresh through the Honolulu fish auction.
Kajiki with high fat content is substituted for tuna in sashimi and other raw fish dishes.
Kajiki is one of many “white fleshed” fishes that are interchanged as a “catch of the day” on restau-
rant menus, depending on availability and price. Marlin and tuna are also freely substituted as
material for smoked fish. Kajiki is among the local species used to make fishcake in Hawaii.
III. Of Special Interest For Preparation/Quality Control
Shelf Life And Quality Control:
Although some longline boats which catch kajiki are at sea for up to
10-12 days, the quality of the fish is often better than one- or two-day old fish from sportfishing
tournaments in which the sales value of the catch is secondary to the recreational value and the fish
are not immediately iced (see Table 3).
Kajiki (Pacific Blue Marlin)