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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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billfish a name given to the various species of large fish which have their upper jaws prolonged into a pointed rostrum, snout, or ‘bill’, which may be either round in section or, in the case of the ‘sword’ of the swordfish, flat. The purpose of the bill seems to be to stun the smaller fish on which billfish prey.

Billfish, in general, provide excellent flesh, usually paler than that of tuna and with good keeping quality. In many regions they constitute a major resource for so-called ‘big game fishing’. Commercially, they are of greatest importance to the Japanese, whose share of the world catch, in terms of both fishing and consumption, is over two-thirds.