En­dan­gered: saw­fish

Sav­ing this toothy swim­mer

World of Animals - - What's Inside -

With its toothed rostrum and long, shark­like body, a saw­fish is an amaz­ing sight. Un­for­tu­nately, the rays are in trou­ble; habi­tat loss, fish­ing and the de­mand for their body parts are caus­ing huge dam­age to all five species, and they’re thought to be among the most en­dan­gered ma­rine crea­tures. Their num­bers have plum­meted by more than 90 per cent, and a huge con­ser­va­tion ef­fort is now needed to stop saw­fish dis­ap­pear­ing from the sea.

The causes of en­dan­ger­ment

By­catch

With their long, toothed ros­trums, saw­fish can eas­ily be­come tan­gled in fish­ing nets and lines set to catch other fish. Try­ing to un­tan­gle and re­lease them is dif­fi­cult and dan­ger­ous, so fish­er­men will some­times kill them or cut off their saws.

Trade

There’s a high de­mand for saw­fish parts. Although they’re rays and not sharks, their fins are among the most highly prized for shark fin soup. Their bile, ova and liver oil are sold for use in tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine, while their ros­trums are sold on­line as cu­rios.

Habi­tat loss

Saw­fish live in coastal and es­tu­ar­ine wa­ters, prime ar­eas for de­vel­op­ment. In­creased hu­man ac­tiv­ity and de­vel­op­ment are re­duc­ing the area of ocean hab­it­able for the saw­fish, caus­ing a huge drop in num­bers across the world.

What you can do

www.thedeep.co.uk You can show your sup­port for In­ter­na­tional Saw­fish Day on the 17 Oc­to­ber by us­ing the hash­tag #INTL­saw­fish­day on so­cial me­dia. For more in­for­ma­tion about saw­fish and their con­ser­va­tion, visit www.thedeep.co.uk/con­ser­va­tion.

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