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Is Swordfish Kosher

Is Swordfish Kosher

The kosher status of swordfish has long been debated among Jewish authorities.

I put together this overview of the history and issues surrounding swordfish’s controversial place in kosher dietary laws so that you can hopefully answer the question: Are Swordfish Kosher?

See also: Is Mahi Mahi Kosher?

Swordfish was considered kosher and eaten regularly by Jewish communities for centuries.

However, in the 1950s, some Orthodox rabbis began to prohibit swordfish based on an interpretation of kosher rules requiring fish to have scales.

The initial ban on swordfish by prominent American Orthodox rabbis was rejected by Conservative authorities and many European Orthodox rabbis.

The debate continues today with reasonable rabbi opinions on both sides.

Key Positions in the Swordfish Controversy

GroupView on SwordfishRationale
Orthodox (some)Not kosherLack of noticeable scales on adult fish
Orthodox (some)KosherHistoric tradition, tiny scales present
ConservativeKosherMesorah (chain of tradition)
ReformDebatableVaries by individual choice

The central issue is a Torah requirement that fish must have fins and scales to be considered kosher.


Do Swordfish Have Scales?

Do Swordfish Have Scales?

Yes, Swordfish have clearly visible, easy-to-remove scales as juveniles.

However, as the fish matures, the scale structure changes so that only the tips of the scales are visible on adults.

  • In the 1950s, American Orthodox Rabbi Moshe Tendler contended that the lack of visible exterior scales on adult swordfish means it should be considered not kosher.
  • This ruling shocked many Orthodox rabbis in Europe and the Mediterranean, where eating swordfish had never been controversial.
Final Verdict Is Swordfish Kosher or Not Kosher

Final Verdict: Is Swordfish Kosher or Not Kosher

The kosher status of swordfish remains complex: While some Orthodox rabbis prohibit it, many also allow it based on the longstanding tradition of Mesorah.

There is extensive historical evidence of swordfish being treated as kosher over centuries. Reform authorities generally consider it a matter of individual choice.


  • Swordfish was considered kosher for centuries until modern re-evaluation.
  • Orthodox authorities divided based on interpretation of what constitutes scales.
  • Conservative movement permits it based on mesorah (chain of tradition).
  • Issue remains controversial but with strong cases on both sides.

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Steve Momot

Steve is an accomplished professional photographer and marketer who specializes in the Fishing, Yacht, and Boating industry. With a strong presence as an influencer and marketing expert in the Marine Industry, he has made a significant impact in the field. Additionally, Steve is the original creator and co-founder of Sportfishtrader. Prior to his career as a marine photographer, he gained extensive experience as a licensed boat and car dealer in South Florida.

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