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Sawfish are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Populations of this species are in decline, which makes all information about this species invaluable.

Therefore, sawfish sighting reports are a very important tool for monitoring their population. They assist in the evaluation of the species abundance and habitat range, helping us not only to estimate the population size but also to identify their habitat preferences. As a result, the sawfish sighting reports are vital for the success of the Smalltooth Sawfish Recovery Plan.

Reporting Procedures

Sawfish Safe Release Guidelines

As sawfish currently hold an Endangered listing under the Endangered Species Act, it is illegal to harm, harass, hook, or net sawfish in any way, except with a permit or in a permitted fishery.

However, accidental captures do occur while fishing for other species. For your safety and the safety of the sawfish, use caution should you hook or net a sawfish, as they are substantially large and powerful fish capable of causing you or themselves injury. Below are some tips for safely handling and releasing an accidentally caught sawfish.

Sawfish, photo © Bryan Clark
Sawfish, photo © Bryan Clark

If hooked:

If tangled in a net:

DO NOT REMOVE THE SAW!

Penalties

Unauthorized handling of a species protected under the Endangered Species Act may cost the offender anywhere from $500 to $10,000 or more, with fines increasing with the number of violations. Simply harassing a sawfish can cost anywhere from $1000-$10,000 for a first violation; capturing it holds a penalty of $2,000 or higher.

Ecological Advice

Here are some guidelines that can make a huge difference for the sawfish conservation and other sea animals as well: