08 09/08/2012

Saving the Critically Endangered Sawfish

Have you ever heard of the Sawfish? Did you know that sadly, all SEVEN species of sawfish are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List?

A Chester Zoo supported project is trying to reverse the situation and secure the conservation of sawfish worldwide with the help from specialists from all over the world.

Image © Andy Murch       

Sawfish are found in tropical and subtropical coastal waters but because of their long toothed ‘saw’ or rostrum they become bycatch in nets - caught unintentionally whilst intending to catch other fish - and this has resulted in declines of greater than 90%.

Unfortunately, very little is known about these species and data is sparse and widely-scattered.

The IUCN Shark Specialist Group is overcoming this issue through a new project which brings together specialists to share information and data on the seven threatened species.

Sawfish (c) David Wachenfeld

Image © David Wachenfeld

The first step of the project was to hold a specialist workshop with delegates working together to develop a Global Sawfish Conservation Strategy.

This strategy highlights the key regions and threats that most urgently need addressing and details the targeted conservation actions required to secure the future for the sawfish.

As this week is National Marine Week in the UK, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to share some images with you and introduce you to the project and the sawfish.

Global Sawfish Conservation Workshop

Attendees at the Global Sawfish Conservation Strategy Workshop