Sawfish

Pristis pristis, P.pectinata, P.perotteti

Method of production — Caught at sea
Capture method — Gill or fixed net
Capture area — Worldwide (FAO All Areas)
Stock area — All Areas
Stock detail

All Areas


Picture of Sawfish

Sustainability rating five info

Sustainability overview

Sawfishes are arguably the most imperilled fishes in the world; the whole family has been classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group. Because of this, they are automatically a red-rated species.

Biology

Very little is known of this misnamed sawfish, which is quite rare. All sawfishes are ovoviviparous, but little else is known of the reproductive biology of the Common Sawfish. Its size at maturity is unknown, but its maximum length is about 5 m. Mature specimens are generally lacking in collections, small specimens are rare and isolated saws attributed to the species may be misidentified members of the Pristis microdon group.

Stock information

Criterion score: 1 info

Stock Area

All Areas

Stock information

Sawfishes are arguably the most imperiled fishes in the world; the whole family has been classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Shark Specialist Group.

Their populations have declined by around 90% due to overexploitation and habitat loss. Their large size and unusual saw blade make them highly susceptible to accidental entanglement in fishing nets.

Sawfish live in shallow coastal waters that are highly accessible to burgeoning artisanal fishing communities and industrial fisheries alike.

Due to its low population, Sawfish is automatically red-rated.

Management

Criterion score: 1 info

Thirteen ring-net vessels were active during the 2016-17 sardine fishing season. However, fifteen commercial fishing vessels based mainly at Newlyn, Mevagissey and Plymouth are now equipped to use ring-nets in the Cornwall IFCA district, 13 of these vessels where active during the 2017-18 sardine fishing season. Each vessel employs between three and five crew.

Capture Information

Criterion score: 1 info

Sawfish are often caught incidentally by artisanal and commercial fisheries in inshore fisheries in nets and fishing lines which are set for other species. They have a peculiar shape and once caught, which makes it difficult for them to escape from nets. They sometimes have their saws removed when fishers try to release them from nets. Even if they do escape, many die from starvation because their saw - which they use to locate and hunt prey - is damaged.

Alternatives

Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Dab
Halibut, Atlantic (Farmed)
Halibut, Pacific
Megrim
Plaice
Sole, Dover sole, Common sole
Sole, Lemon
Turbot (Caught at sea)
Turbot (Farmed)

References

Wildscreen Archive. 2017. Green sawfish (Pristis zijsron). Available at: http://www.arkive.org/green-sawfish/pristis-zijsron/).

Kyne, P.M., Carlson, J. & Smith, K. 2013. Pristis pristis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T18584848A18620395. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-1.RLTS.T18584848A18620395.en.

Simpfendorfer, C. 2013. Pristis zijsron. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T39393A18620401

Carlson, J., Wiley, T. & Smith, K. 2013. Pristis pectinata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T18175A43398238.

Kyne, P.M., Rigby, C. & Simpfendorfer, C. 2013. Pristis clavata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T39390A18620389