The mystery over how a marlin ended up ashore at a Napier beach is ongoing.

The largely intact marlin corpse was first spotted near the Awatoto treatment plant outfall area on Wednesday morning, well away from its usual deep-water habitat.

A woman told Hawke's Bay Today's Facebook page that she had witnessed the marlin "jump up out of the water and land on the beach", before reporting it to council.

Attempts to contact her to confirm the story this week have been unsuccessful.


While unable to confirm the exact species of the fish based on the photo alone, President Hawkes Bay Sportsfishing Club Neil Price said it is likely to be a striped marlin.

Fishing of marlin species is usually more successful in summer months with more abundant numbers.

Price said it was more likely that the marlin would have been dead for some time prior to washing ashore, with old age or sickness a likely reason of death.

"I haven't heard of this happening, but when they die and other predators haven't eaten them, they will wash up on the shore that the currents drive them to," he said.

He said that nobody should eat any form of seafood that has washed up on a beach.

National Aquarium of New Zealand general manager Rachel Haydon said she was surprised to see the marlin beached and they weren't generally found in Hawke's Bay in winter.

"There are a number of species known to frequent New Zealand waters seasonally – swordfish, striped marlin, black marlin and blue marlin," she said.

"It is unusual to see one washed up a beach and we have not heard of any others washing up nearby recently."


Price said it was extremely unlikely that it would have been hooked and lost by a nearby fisherman.

"Most people stopped chasing marlin when lockdown happened," he said. "This is southern bluefin tuna season at the moment."

Striped marlin, which can grow up to and in excess of 200kg, usually arrive in warmer waters during December or January.

The public are encouraged to contact the Department of Conservation on 0800 362 468 if they spot sick, injured or dead wildlife across the region.