Sawfish Faces Global Threat of Extinction

A new study by Simon Fraser University (SFU) researchers, published in Science Advances reveals that sawfish are facing extinction due to overfishing.

Sawfish were once found in 90 countries but are presumed extinct from 46.

SFU researchers Helen Yan and Nick Dulvy have said three of the five species of sawfish are critically endangered while the rest are endangered

The study explained that because of their saw-like protrusions, swafish are easily caught in nets while their spikes are used for novelty items.

.“We’ve known for a while that the dramatic expansion of fishing is the primary threat to ocean biodiversity, but robust population assessment is difficult for low priority fishes whose catches have been poorly monitored over time. With this study, we tackle a fundamental challenge for tracking biodiversity change: discerning severe population declines from local extinction,” warned Dulvy.

The researchers said that conservation efforts should be boosted and fishing laws strengthened in Cuba, Tanzania, Columbia, Madagascar, Panama, Brazil, Mexico, and Sri Lanka

Australia is where four out of five species of sawfish reside and also has good conservation laws like the US.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) and Humane Society International (HSI) said that the fact most species are now only located in Australia highlighted the urgency of strengthening protections and recovery plans for endangered and critically endangered species of sawfish.

Yan also claimed that their study showed that it’s actually still possible to restore sawfish to more than 70 percent of their historical range if conservation efforts are immediately done.


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