Trade in sawfish banned
June 11, 2007
Trade restrictions for the endangered sawfish have been approved at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting the The Hague. All seven species of sawfish has been added to Appendix I of the convention, banning international commercial trade. One species, found in Australia, was added to Appendix II, restricting trade to live animals for conservation purposes.
Sawfish are traded for their fins, meat, unique toothed rostra or snouts, and as live animals for aquariums. The rostra along can fetch more than $1000 on international markets while fins are used in shark fin soup.
BBC News quoted Dorothy Nyingi from the National Museums of Kenya on the value of the fish to local fishermen.
Smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata)
Evermann and Bean, 1898, Plate 23
“Only the meat is consumed locally; and artisanal fishermen can retire after catching one sawfish due to the high value of a single rostrum, up to $1,450,” Nyingi explained.
WWF said it was pleased with the protection of species which have seen their populations fall by more than 90 percent.
“We are relieved that international trade pressure will be lifted for these critically endangered species,” said Steven Broad, Director of TRAFFIC. “Trade, along with fishing pressure, was pushing them towards extinction.”