Swordfish are very aggressive, especially if they are injured.
Hawaii Island police report that a 47-year-old fisherman died Friday in Kailua-Kona during a fishing accident.
Responding to a 10:48 a.m. call, police learned that a swordfish had been observed in Honokohau Harbor and that fisherman Randy Llanes of Kailua-Kona had jumped into the water with a spear gun. The fish was then seen thrashing about, leaving a puncture wound to the man’s upper chest.
Hawaii County Fire Department personnel responded to the scene and attempted CPR. They took Llanes to Kona Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 11:30 a.m.
Acting Sgt. David Matsushima of the Kona patrol said that after the fish got hit with Llanes’ spear, “the fish got wrapped around a mooring anchor, came back and swam at him.”
The swordfish measured about 3 feet long, with a bill length of about 3 feet, and weighed about 40 pounds.
Dale Leverone, a friend of Llanes, called him “just a great local boy. A good attitude, good person, a help-anybody kind of guy. He had a heck of a lot of friends. It’s pretty sad, pretty tragic.
“Randy has been fishing all his life. He’s a pretty accomplished fisherman. He actually caught a 500-pound marlin yesterday out of his skiff.”
Leverone went on to say that Llanes “got married in the last few years, he’s got a son that’s about 5 … It’s just pretty shocking for the whole harbor.”
Swordfish are usually found in deeper water.
Sometimes during the daytime they swim near the surface. Experts say it’s very unusual for swordfish to be in shallow water, but as we saw Friday it does happen.
“There are two possible reasons,” said Director of The Waikiki Aquarium, Dr. Andrew Rossiter. “one maybe the fish was following a school of fish into the shallow water, the other reason is maybe the fish was injured in some way or somehow impaired.”
While there have been incidents between humans and swordfish in the past Dr. Rossiter says an incident like this one is rare.
“This is very, very unusual.” said Dr. Rossiter.”There have been a couple of cases documented in the past, but almost always it can be attributed to an unfortunate accident or the fish being injured.”
Back in 2003, Mark Ferrari, a whale researcher, was gored by a marlin off West Maui.
He was filming false killer whales during a feeding frenzy when the marlin they were feeding on darted away and pierced Ferrari’s shoulder with its bill.