Largetooth sawfish to become second elasmobranch to receive Endangered Species Act protections

The Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis perotteti) is about to become the second elasmobranch protected by the Endangered Species Act, a welcome step in the conservation of these animals.  In addition to the slow growth, low number of offspring, and relatively late maturity which characterizes most elasmobranchs, another  biological feature contributes to sawfish being “among the most endangered fishes in the world,” according to Shark Advocates International President Sonja Fordham. It’s hard to imagine a biological structure that can get more thoroughly entangled in fishing nets than the “saw” on their rostrum, and bycatch is one of the leading causes of population decline in this group of animals. Additionally, the saw used to be a part of the souvenir trade.

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