Sawfish, doomed to extinction if overfishing is not stopped

The saw fish have disappeared from half of the world’s coastal waters and their distinctive stripes are facing the complete extinction Due to the overfishing, according to a new study by researchers at Simon Fraser University (Canada), published in the journal Science Advances.

There are 18 countries where at least one species of sawfish is missing and 28 more where two species have disappeared

The sawfish, named for its appendix Long and narrow edged with teeth, resembling a saw blade, was prevalent off the coasts of 90 countries, but is now among the most threatened marine fish in the world, presumably extinct in 46 of those nations. There are 18 countries where at least one species of sawfish is missing and 28 more where two species have disappeared.

According to the researchers Helen Yan and Nick Dulvy, three of the five existing species of sawfish are in critical hazard, according to the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the other two are in danger.

The teeth of your appendix easily snag on the fishing nets. Sawfish fins are among the most valuable in the global shark fin trade and their appendage is also sold as a novelty, as medicine, and as a cockfighting spur.

The current presence of sawfish around the world is unknown, but Dulvy cautions that complete extinction is possible if nothing is done to curb overfishing and protect threatened habitats such as mangroves, where this fish can thrive.

“We are documenting the first cases of a powerful marine fish being driven to local extinction by overfishing,” Dulvy warns. “We have known for some time that the spectacular expansion of fishing is the main threat to the biodiversity of the oceans, the populations of some fish have been poorly monitored over time,” he continues.

Eight countries to act

The study recommends that international conservation efforts focus on eight countries (Cuba, Tanzania, Colombia, Madagascar, Panama, Brazil, Mexico and Sri Lanka) where efforts and adequate protection for fisheries could save the species.

Although the situation is dire, it is still possible to recover the sawfish in more than 70% of its historical range if we act now

Helen Yan

It also found that Australia and the US, where they already exist protections adequate and some sawfish are still present, they should be considered as “lifeboat” nations.

“While the situation is dire, it is still possible to recover the sawfish to more than 70% of its historical range if we act now,” adds Yan.

Reference:

Helen Yan et al. “Overfishing and habitat loss drive range contraction of iconic marine fishes to near extinction” Science Advances

Rights: Creative Commons.