A record number of migratory sharks and rays were listed for global protection at the CMS COP11, held in Quito, Ecuador in 2014. But, what comes next?
The Green sawfish (Pristis zijsron) is native to the Indo-West Pacific Ocean ranges, which includes an area from Australia, South Africa, Qatar and Thailand. It is possibly the largest of the sawfishes, reaching over 7 metres in length in some cases. This species is coastal, with the young occurring in shallow nearshore waters, while the adults are more common offshore at depths over 70 metres. Its life history is poorly known, but its low rate of population growth indicates that it is extremely susceptible to fishing pressure.
Like all sawfishes, the Green Sawfish is extremely susceptible to capture in gillnets and demersal trawl nets. This species is now protected by no-take status in some range states (e.g. Australia, Bahrain, India), is listed on Appendix I of CITES, and is protected by some areas that are closed to fishing; but these actions alone will not be sufficient to ensure its survival in most regions.
Available information indicates that populations of Green Sawfish are considerably rarer than historically across its entire range. Declines in the population are suspected to exceed 80% over the previous 40 years, and it is possible that there has been localised extinction in a number of range states due to intensive fishing, reducing its extent of occurrence, and supporting its listing as Critically Endangered.
|CMS, Sharks (2016)
|Date of entry in Appendix I
|Date of entry in Appendix II
|Australia, Bahrain, Eritrea, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Réunion (France), South Africa, Sudan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, United Arab Emirates
|Eschmeyer, W.N. (1990). Catalogue of the Genera of Recent Fishes. California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California.