Rare endangered sawfish captured and released in Florida
A group of Wisconsin fishermen on a charter boat in Florida were fishing for sharks when they stung a rare and endangered sawfish. Captain Parker Miley of Fin and Fly Charters, based in central Florida near the Kennedy Space Center, put anglers on a good-sized black-nosed shark before the unexpected quarry bit the hook .
Miley was soaking a piece of trevally in 20 feet of water several hundred feet from shore. When he put on the hook, he thought at first that a shark had bitten the hook, but the fish didn’t make a great first run. Instead, he regularly checked the reel line. Angler Kevin Therriault took 20 minutes to fight the 13-foot fish and bring it to the edge of the boat.
“Oh my God, he’s a sawfish! You guys, this fish is super rare! Miley said, as reported by Florida today. The fishermen took a few photos as Miley immediately released the fish without removing it from the water, as required by federal law. Sawfish have been listed under the Endangered Species Act since 2003. A video of the encounter was posted by the TCPalm:
What is a sawfish?
There are five species of sawfish in the world. The sawfish caught in Florida was a small-toothed sawfish. It is a species of ray, although it swims like a shark. Sawfish are known for their long, toothed “rostrums” or “saws,” which protrude from the front of their flattened bodies. These saws are used for digging, like a weapon, and have small pores that can sense the electric fields produced by prey. A large sawfish can be up to 17 feet long and weigh 1,000 pounds.
Read moret: Largest ever recorded small-tooth sawfish found dead in Florida
The sawfish had almost disappeared from US waters by the late 1990s. Since then, scientists and wildlife managers have been fighting to save the species. It is illegal to target them intentionally. Florida anglers who inadvertently catch a small-toothed sawfish are urged to release it unharmed and report it to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.