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Sawfish (Pristidae)

Sawfish are a unique freshwater species, and like many Australian species are dependent on consistent water flow in rivers. Our support of Costa Rican NGO Mision Tiburon may help us understand the importance of managing our own wild rivers.

The Sawfish (Pristidae) and their habitats have experienced dramatic declines, reducing their geographic range. In fact, they are considered the most threatened family of marine fishes. This specie is generally restricted to shallow (<10 m) coastal, estuarine, and fresh waters. Its population had suffered a decline of 80%, and it is also considered extinct in much of its former range. In Costa Rica and in the region, it was impacted by fisheries, especially by trawling and gillnets used in rivers, river mouths, estuaries, and near-shore waters. Also, the habitat degradation, such as coastal development and the loss of mangroves, contributed to the decline and will slow any potential recovery of the species. The purpose of the project is to promote the conservation of sawfish by the identification and protection of critical habitats. The specific objectives are: 1 Confirm the presence of sawfish and study its habitat use at the critical habitats identified by Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). 2 Involve coastal communities in sawfish conservation through community awareness. 3 Increase the sawfish survival in Costa Rican waters by implementing management strategies for their protection in local communities.

Mision Tiburon is composed by young professionals committed to marine life and shark conservation. The leaders of this organization, Ilena Zanella and Andres Lopez, are marine biologists who have worked for several years in educational projects and marine research, especially with sharks, rays and turtles.

What Can You Do?

Speak Out for Wildlife: tell local, state and federal or international authorities that you support action to conserve wildlife and their habitats. This includes encouraging actions that preserve environmental flows for the health of our freshwater species and their rivers.