Sawfish inhabit shallow estuarine habitats, and are thus impacted by the virulent coastal development that has been taking place around the world in recent decades. Also to blame is overfishing and even finning – a practise wiping out huge numbers of sharks on a global scale.
The animals are another of nature's wonders, with a long protruding 'rostrum' similar to swordfish, except with saw-like teeth extending out. Scientists are barely beginning to understand their biology and physiology, and it has been discovered that the rostrum is equipped with an extraordinary electroreceptor system, similar to the hammerhead shark – another species facing annihilation with populations down by 98%.
Scientists agreed that conservation efforts must concentrate on core sawfish populations, unfortunately letting weaker populations inevitably fade away. Resource constraints mean that this would result in trying to save the species as a whole from extinction, rather than focussing on smaller populations worldwide.
Global Ocean, already active in efforts to raise awareness of the plight of the world's sharks, is considering how to do so for sawfish – a key species of the Elasmobranch family.