One of the best ways to track the effectiveness of ongoing management and conservation efforts is to collect information about interactions with endangered sawfish by fishers, divers, and others. Details of public sightings and captures of sawfish can substantially increase the data we have about the species, allowing us to make management and policy decisions that are reflective of the realities in the water. Because of their countless hours on and in the water, we are seeking to partner with the angling and diving community to collect information about sawfish in the United States.
For anglers to safely and legally release any sawfish accidentally caught:
- Release sawfish immediately
- Leave the sawfish, especially the gills, in the water at all times
- Never lift a sawfish from the water or drag it ashore
- Do not use gaffs or ropes to secure any captured sawfish
- Cut the line as close to the hook as safely possible
- Share the details of your sawfish catch with scientists
- Anglers should note that advertising fishing trips or charters aimed at catching endangered smalltooth sawfish can be considered “targeting,” which is a violation of the ESA. Therefore, I strongly urge that the following conservation messaging be included in all social media posts regarding sawfish: Sawfish are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Help protect this critically endangered species by following NOAA Fisheries handling and release guidelines available at www.SawfishRecovery.org.
For divers to enjoy encounters with sawfish safely and legally:
- Keep your distance
- Avoid disturbing sawfish
- Never chase, feed, or touch them
- Share information about your sawfish encounters with scientists
- Divers should note that advertising expeditions aimed at encountering endangered smalltooth sawfish can be considered “targeting,” which is a violation of the ESA. Therefore, I strongly urge that the following conservation messaging be included in all social media posts regarding sawfish: Sawfish are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Help protect this critically endangered species by following NOAA Fisheries viewing guidelines available at www.SawfishRecovery.org.
You can promote sawfish protection by following these interaction guidelines and educating others about them. Please share the information about your sawfish encounters by visiting www.SawfishRecovery.org, calling 1-844-4SAWFISH, emailing [email protected], or submitting the information through the FWC Reporter app. Your encounter reports will be used to track recovery of the population and steer research efforts, which will ultimately benefit the species and the areas in which you fish and dive.