About Them: Distinctive looking fish, with a long saw called a rostrum most closely related to rays even though their body looks shark like. They are bottom dwellers and not aggressive, but if in harms way will swing their rostrum around which can be devastating. The teeth along the rostrum do not grow back if they break off. The Smalltooth Sawfish is one of seven subspecies, with a main habitat along Florida. It historically ranged from North Carolina to Texas. They breed in Mangroves at river mouths.
Their plight: They have been over fished, are easily tangled in fishing nets, and are sensitive to pollution. They are generally fished for their uniqueness they are desired as a decoration. Their populations are about 1% of what they used to be.
What we should consider: This is such a unique fish. It would be amazing to witness one in the wild and listening to historical stories of hundreds is disheartening. How lucky they were that they were able to experience that. It is so unfortunate for us and the children of our future that they may never know a sight like that. I don’t understand why some people lack the foresight of none left. I guess it is selfish, the as long as I have one does it matter mentality.
The sad thing is, if we actually left them alone for a period of time and allowed them to rebuild their populations there could be limited fishing of these fish. I don’t wish to fish personally, but hunters and fishermen are allies to conservationists. They generally want to see a future where they can continue what they do. There are just some cultures and people that can’t manage waiting.
What is being done: They are now protected, it is illegal to purchase any part of any sawfish from any country in the world or to capture it in the US. Portions of their historical habitat have been protected as of 2009.
How to help: Continue bringing awareness. Call into state senators when legislation is being passed that could affect the continued support of policy that protects wildlife and waterways. -> here is one https://www.lwcfcoalition.com/
Support can be:
- donating to science groups
- helping to ensure funding to the organizations that creating breeding programs
- being a citizen scientist through
- land restoration project
- trash clean ups
- species counts
- bio blitzes
- getting people you know excited about how incredible our planet’s biodiversity is.
Joining your local Audubon Society or other local conservation group is a great first step into finding activities and ways to become a citizen scientist and environmental advocate.
Further Reading, my sources:
[This is a blog of my opinions. I speak for myself. I am a one person team and if I have misinterpreted a fact or made an error please feel free to get in touch to correct me. I will make edits and updates to post. I would appreciate corrections to be polite. I will not engage in hate.]