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Credit / Andrea Kroetz

Credit / Andrea Kroetz

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Credit / Tonya Wiley

Credit / Tonya Wiley

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Credit / Andrea Kroetz

Sawfish Recovery

Our goal is to recover the population of smalltooth sawfish so that these animals no longer need ESA protection.

Who we are

Credit / NOAA Fisheries

What is a sawfish?

Sawfish are shark-like rays named for their saw-shaped snouts (rostra), which are used primarily for feeding. Like other rays, their mouths and gills are located on the underside of their bodies, and their skeletons are made of flexible cartilage, not bone.

There are five species of sawfishes worldwide, and they now face greater extinction risk than any other family of marine fish. Only the smalltooth sawfish is currently found in U.S. waters.

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The decline of sawfish in the U.S.

Smalltooth sawfish were once found in coastal waters from Texas to North Carolina. However, fishing mortality and habitat loss led to dramatic reductions in both their numbers and range. Now they are regularly found only in southwest Florida, including Everglades National Park.

NOAA Fisheries listed the smalltooth sawfish as “Endangered” under the Endangered Species Act in 2003.

Report a sawfish

Did you know?

Mothers give birth only every other year
Gestation takes about 12 months
Litter size is about 7-14 young
Newborn pups are about 2 feet long
Size at maturity is about 11-12 feet long
Age at maturity is about 7 years
Maximum size is about 16 feet
Maximum age is unknown (likely several decades)
Diet consists of mostly fish

Credit / Andrea Kroetz

Credit / Andrea Kroetz

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Credit / Leonard Simonetti

Credit / Leonard Simonetti

Credit / NOAA Fisheries

Credit / NOAA Fisheries

Credit / Tonya Wiley

Credit / Tonya Wiley