Published On : Tue, Mar 28th, 2017

15 feet long carcass of rare 700-kg sawfish found in Sindhudurg

Mumbai: Carcass of a critically endangered species of shark, a sawfish was found in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra on Sunday morning. As per information by local fishermen, the 15 feet long carcass that was spotted near the shore of the beach weighed nearly 700 kg. If they were to be believed, the fish must have died of suffocation as its snout was found entangled in the net. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the sawfish in ‘critically endangered’ section on the Red List. Belonging to the shark family, the sawfish falls under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Researchers said the sawfish has been spotted mostly along the Gulf of Mexico, Australia and South-East Asia. Munir Mujawar, a fisherman from Vijaydurg was quoted by Hindustan Times saying that on Saturday night, they had cast their nets close to the shoreline for our daily catch. “On Sunday, as I was pulling them in, I realised that a massive fish was trapped in one of the nets. It took five men to pull the fish out of the water. Once on board, we saw that its snout was entangled in the net, which most likely suffocated the fish”, he added.
About Sawfish:

  • Sawfish is characterised by a long, narrow, flattened rostrum, or nose extension, lined with sharp transverse teeth, arranged so as to resemble a saw.
  • Sawfishes are also known as carpenter sharks.
  • Several species of sawfishes can grow to about 7 m (23 ft).
  • Sawfishes should not be confused with saw sharks, or the extinct sclerorhynchids which have a similar appearance.
  • All species of sawfishes are listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered by the IUCN. They face the threat of extinction as a result of habitat loss and overfishing.
  • Global populations of every species of sawfishes are estimated to have fallen to less than 10% of their historic levels, and they have been lost from at least 80% of their historic range.

Taking into consideration their illegal sale to aquariums, trophy angling and their sale for food, the population of the sawfish is under great danger. The species is however, on the decline along the entire western coast of India. A fisherman from Sindhudurg said that about 20 years ago, they used to regularly spot this shark. However, the population has declined drastically in the last 10 years owing to increasing water pollution.

Marine biologists said that the shark is prone to entanglement in fishing nets owing to its long snout, which has 31 teeth. Once their snout gets caught in the fishing nets, their movement gets restricted while the numbers of sawfish in the wild are dwindling. Experts state that in case of the fish getting entangled in a net, its gills should be immersed in water during the rescue period and the net should be removed and the fish released quickly.