Is Swordfish Kosher: Can You Eat Them?

Swordfish have both fins and scales, which make it a kosher. However, the scales cannot be removed without peeling the skin. Besides, adult swordfish usually do not have scales. Because of this, many sages of different communities consider the fish non-kosher. 

A fish requires both fins and removable scales to be kosher. Swordfish have a long dorsal fin. Additionally, they have a reduced second dorsal fin, anal fin, and a tail fin. These large fish lack pelvic fins. Swordfish have long bills and no teeth in their jaws.

Swordfish is edible and is popularly consumed as a seafood. You can cook the fish or make it grilled, pan-fried, or boiled. The fish is a good source of minerals. 

Does Swordfish Really Have Scales

Yes, swordfish have scales when they are young. Baby swordfish have tiny, delicate scales that play a crucial role in their protection and hydrodynamics. These scales are cycloid and overlap each other. The scales form a flexible armor across the fish’s body. 

The cycloid scales of baby swordfish are smooth and rounded. These scales allow for minimal water resistance in their aquatic environment. These scales are transparent and provide a shimmering effect. Because of the transparency, people often mistake that juvenile swordfish do not have scales. 

As the fish grows to adulthood, the scales gradually disappear. You will notice smooth skin in adult swordfish. The absence of scales helps the fish’s speed, agility, and powerful swimming abilities. 

The lack of scales makes them vulnerable to parasites to some extent. They become prone to external injuries as well. Thankfully, the skin of swordfish is relatively thick. Therefore, the disappearance of the scales is more advantageous for them. 

Fins of Swordfish

Swordfish have 4 different types of fins: dorsal, anal, pelvic fins, and a tail fin. Each of these fins has unique features.

1. Dorsal Fins

Swordfish have 2 dorsal fins. The first dorsal fin is bigger and is located on the back. It is near to the head. This fin is easily noticeable, and it makes it look bigger. They have a second dorsal fin that is located near the tail. The dorsal fins aid in stability and steering while swimming. 

2. Pectoral Fins

Pectoral fins are large, dynamic, and located on each side of the fish. These pair fins can be extended or retracted. This movement contributes to the agility of the fish. These fins also contribute to their steering and take turns. 

3. Anal Fin

Swordfish have one fin before the tail. It is much smaller compared to the dorsal fin. It complements the overall symmetry of the swordfish. The fin provides subtle balance and finesse to its appearance. The anal fin aids in stabilization and assists the fish in maintaining a straight trajectory. 

4. Caudal Fin

The caudal fin or tail fin is located at the posterior end of the swordfish. The fin is deeply forked and serves as the primary propulsion mechanism for swimming. It has rays, which are bony and cartilaginous structures supporting the shape of the fin. It plays a crucial role in proper swimming for swordfish. 

Can You Eat Swordfish

You can eat swordfish occasionally, and it is safe for your health. You should not make it a habit of eating them regularly. It could be harmful to your health. One primary reason is the presence of mercury. 

Swordfish is at the top of the food chain of its ecosystem. It eats a lot of small fish like tuna, and as a result, mercury keeps piling up in their body. They are, in fact, one of the highest amounts of mercury carriers. Having said that, consuming a small amount is not harmful. 

You can prepare swordfish dishes in various ways, including cooking, grilling, or boiling them. Avoid eating them raw, as it is not appetizing. Some studies suggest not to eat swordfish more than 14 ounces. Eating within the safe limit is safe. 

When it comes to Jewish law, there are some contradictions. Some rabbis believe that it is a kosher fish, while some Rav thinks it cannot be considered kosher without proper scales. However, you can eat the fish without worrying about health issues.

Health Benefits of Swordfish

Health Benefits of Swordfish
Health Benefits of Swordfish
NutrientAmount per 3 ounces
Total fat6.74 g
Protein19.9 g
Carbohydrates0 g
Calcium5.1 mg
Magnesium29.8 mg
Potassium424 mg
Phosphorus258 mg
Selenium58.2 mg

1. Offers Lean Protein

Swordfish offers a small amount of protein, which is essential for your health. It is the building block of your body. You need protein to strengthen your body’s immune system. Proper consumption of protein helps with muscle development, too. 

2. Provides Different Minerals

You can get different minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, selenium, etc., from swordfish. These minerals are essential for maintaining various bodily functions. Minerals contribute to bone health, nerve function, fluid balance, and enzyme activity. 

Calcium, in particular, is crucial for bone health. Lack of this mineral can cause several complications. Phosphorus, on the other hand, is important for both bones and teeth. Another mineral you get from is swordfish, which can help prevent cancers. 

3. Offers Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 improves red blood cell production, nerve function, and cell metabolism. It makes nutrition an important one for your health. Vitamin B12 is crucial in preventing anemia and supporting energy metabolism. Your body needs it for neurological health and DNA synthesis. 

4. Improves Heart Condition

Swordfish, like salmon, offers omega-3, a fatty acid that is important for the heart. Omega 3 can lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. They also support normal heart rhythm and reduce the risk of blood clot formation. Overall, you enjoy improved cardiovascular health and reduced chances of heart disease. 

5. Keeps Your Skin Healthy

Your skin needs niacin to stay healthy, and swordfish contains a good amount of niacin. Niacin, or vitamin B3, supports healthy skin by promoting the proper function of skin cells. It aids in the maintenance of a protective barrier. It helps retain moisture, reduces inflammation, and addresses conditions like acne. Niacin also supports the production of ceramides, essential lipids for skin hydration and resilience. 


Is swordfish kosher in the Bible?

Yes, swordfish is kosher, according to the Law Committee. However, the Standard Orthodox practice does not consider swordfish to be kosher. The primary reason is that the adult swordfish does not have scales or removable scales. 

Is swordfish clean fish?

No, swordfish is not a clean fish. It contains a higher amount of mercury, which is not good for your health. You can eat swordfish in a small amount occasionally, though. A balanced amount of swordfish can be beneficial for your health. 

What does swordfish taste like?

Swordfish has a mild, sweet taste, not overly fishy. It can be an ideal choice for you if you prefer a subtler fish flavor. Swordfish still offers a stronger flavor than tuna, mahi-mahi, and marlin. The firm texture of the meat compliments the taste. 

Is swordfish expensive?

Yes, swordfish is expensive and is often called a premium food. A pound of swordfish can cost up to $60. It makes the fish one of the most expensive fish. A major reason for this high price is that it is difficult to farm swordfish. They are mostly caught in the sea. 

Can kids eat swordfish?

No, kids and children should not be fed swordfish. The Food Standards Agency advises pregnant women and children under 16 years old not to eat swordfish. The high consumption of mercury can cause various health problems for children. 

Is there any fish called kosher without scales?

No, there is no kosher fish without scales. One of the basic requirements for a fish to be kosher is the presence of scales. The significance of the fins and scales lies in following biblical guidelines. 


It is difficult to say in one sentence whether swordfish is kosher or non kosher. It mostly depends on your judgment. Baby swordfish scales may disappear as they age. This unique characteristic of these fish creates a conundrum.

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