About Sawfish Conservation & Research

There have been two primary reasons for the decline of the smalltooth populations: bycatch in various commercial and recreational fisheries along with habitat loss and degradation. 

Since the U.S. smalltooth sawfish population was listed as endangered in 2003, these threats greatly decreased (some of the actions already existed before 2003). There has been a ban on inshore fishing nets in Florida waters for more than a decade and there are prohibitions and fines against intentionally capturing, harming or harassing sawfish). 

Currently the major aim of sawfish research is monitoring the sawfish population to determine if the population is rebounding or at the very least stabilizing, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of protective measures. This monitoring information will provide us with important data about the ecology, reproduction and life history of the species, which will enable us to more effectively assist conservation efforts to protect the smalltooth sawfish. It is important that this monitoring program continues well into the future as the recuperation of this species will take some time due to its life history characteristics. 

Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) establishes policies and procedures for identifying, listing, and protecting species of wildlife that are endangered or threatened with extinction. The ESA defines an "endangered species" as "any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range." A "threatened species" is defined as "any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range."