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.”
Have we mentioned summer is our favorite time of year? We had a great second session of our Elasmobranch Research Skills Course, with the chance to see and collect data on amazing animals and meet some incredible students.
For more photos from the last three weeks, check out the full albums on Facebook (@getintothefield) or follow us on Instagram (@Field_School).
We had an absolutely fantastic week with our Elasmo I class! It was our first time offering combined advanced and introductory courses--four students from last year returned to do the advanced course, which included training in additional field skills like drawing blood, advanced animal restraint, surgical techniques, and animal condition evaluation. We couldn't feel luckier to have such fantastic students in both classes, who together helped create a supportive, hard-working, and incredibly fun environment for the week.
We absolutely love teaching Tropical Marine Biology and Ecology, because it gives us a chance to explore so many different South Florida species and ecosystems. From baited underwater remote video (BRUVs) to bumblebee shrimp, it doesn't get much better than this!
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