During this week, students were lucky enough to get a chance to see a smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata). Sawfish are rarely seen around Miami, and are listed under the US Endangered Species Act. Per our permitting, this sawfish was disentangled from our line as quickly as possible and immediately released. However, we were delighted to be able to provide information about our sighting to the FWC, data which contributes to their efforts to protect and manage this amazing and imperiled species. (Looking at his rostrum, it’s easy to see why entanglement in nets and lines has historically been one of the biggest threats to sawfish).
If you ever encounter a sawfish on your own gear, it’s important to release it as quickly as possible with minimal harm to yourself and the animal. You can also help them if you see or encounter a sawfish in the wild!
From www.myfwc.com: “Very little is known about this spectacular fish, so scientists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) initiated a research program to learn more. They are asking for help from the public via the Sawfish Survey. This statewide survey provides a means for anglers, boaters, and beach-goers to help biologists learn more about the areas in which sawfish are sighted. If you catch a sawfish while fishing for other species or happen to see one while you are near the water, please contact us.
To report a sawfish sighting:
-Telephone: 941-255-7403 or 844-472-9347 (1-844-4SAWFISH)
To file a report of a sawfish sighting or encounter, please include the date and time of the encounter, the location, the estimated length of each sawfish, the water depth, and any other relevant details.”
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