Dolphin Break: Smalltooth Sawfish

Periodically, DCP features a possibly lesser-known, endangered marine species. Today, it’s the smalltooth sawfish. Sportfishing, commercial fishing bycatch, and coastal development leading to habitat loss are some of the broader issues that have impacted this bizarrely cool species, but some of the lesser-known impacts include marine debris entanglement, fin and rostrum trade, and liver oil products. All of these have led to an extinction of the largetooth sawfish in the United States and an estimated 80% shrinkage of the smalltooth sawfish range. Fortunately for sawfish in US waters, they began receiving protection in 1992, when the State of Florida instituted a protection from harvest order, and a gill net ban was instituted in 1995. Then in 2003 NOAA fisheries listed the entire remaining population of smalltooth sawfish as endangered under the U.S. endangered Species Act.

Check out this short documentary for a brief look at how the sawfish recovery is progressing and where the species stands now.

NOAA Fisheries has a Recovery Plan that lists actions necessary to rebuild the population and some actions specifically require help from the public. Learn more and find out how you can become involved: