July 1, 2022

How Fast Can Dolphinfish Grow?

Dolphin fish, otherwise known as Mahi Mahi or Dorado, are abundant worldwide and are the most often caught offshore gamefish. They are prized not only for their table fare, but also for their acrobatics during the fight. Their neon colors that range from vibrant greens to blues to yellows make them an angler's favorite to look at and have even inspired some of our top selling boardshorts and trunks.

Mahi Mahi lifespans are short lived and fast growing, but you will be surprised to know just exactly how fast they are capable of growing. Milt Shedd, owner of AFTCO until his passing in 2002, was the co-founder of SeaWorld Inc. where he served as its Board Chairman from 1964 until he retired in 1985. One of his early responsibilities was to coordinate the collection of fish for SeaWorld. On one trip he caught a number of small Dorado weighing about 1.5 lbs. He put them in an exhibit of schooling fish that contained anchovies and sardines. The dolphin must have thought this tank was the dinner table, as food swam by them at all times.

One big bull dolphin lived for 18 months and when it died, there was no guessing of its weight, as it was immediately taken from the tank to a scale. For years I have asked people including seasoned anglers, captains and marine biologists doing Dolphinfish Tagging Research how much they thought the dolphin weighed after 18 months in the tank. Not once has anybody guessed high enough. In 18 months the 1.5 lb Mahi Mahi grew to an amazing 68 lbs.

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Mahi Collage
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Mahi Mahi Jumping

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