Return to overview

Caribbean nations boost protection for extremely rare largetooth sawfish

08 / 06 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

The largetooth sawfish, a large ray with a chainsaw-like nose extension, is among the largest fish in the world, growing more than 6.5 meters (20 feet) in length. This majestic ray is also among the most threatened species of sharks and rays in the world. Once widespread across the waters of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans, the largetooth sawfish (Pristis pristis) has now become extremely rare and is at the brink of extinction. But a recent agreement brings some hope for the species. On June 5, Caribbean countries agreed to boost protection for the largetooth sawfish by adding it to Annex II of the Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW) Protocol under the Cartagena Convention, based on a proposal from the Netherlands. Under the SPAW Protocol, countries falling within the Caribbean region commit to work together to manage and protect threatened species. Plants and animals added to Annexes I and II are afforded the highest levels of protection, with parties to the protocol agreeing to ban the collection, possession or killing of the species, prohibit their commercial trade, and “to the extent possible” take steps to reduce disturbance to the species, “particularly during periods of breeding, incubation, estivation or migration, as well as other periods of biological stress.” Sawfish experts have welcomed the news. “Strict protection of largetooth sawfish and their important habitats throughout their range is critical to recovery of the species,” Dean Grubbs, a shark and ray expert at Florida State University, told Mongabay. “We have much…

To article