|Scientific Name:||Anoxypristis cuspidata|
|Species Authority:||(Latham, 1794)|
Pristis cuspidatus Latham, 1794
|Taxonomic Notes:||This species is distinguished from sawfish of the genus Pristis by the presence of a very narrow rostral saw, with 16 to 29 pairs of distinctive dagger-shaped teeth on the rostrum but no teeth along the quarter of the rostral saw nearest to the head. It has a distinct lower caudal lobe.|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Critically Endangered A2bcd+3cd+4bcd ver 3.1|
|Assessor/s:||Compagno, L.J.V., Cook, S.F., Oetinger, M.I. & Fowler, S.L.|
|Reviewer/s:||Valenti, S., Gibson, C. & participants of the Shark Specialist Group Sub-Equatorial Africa workshop (Shark Red List Authority)|
This large sawfish was formerly distributed through much of the Indo-West Pacific region in shallow inshore coastal waters and estuaries. Its morphology, like that of all other sawfishes, makes it disproportionately subject to continued capture in the net gear widely employed throughout its range. It is also vulnerable to habitat loss and damage as a result of human activities. Extensive fishing and this species? K-selected life history have caused substantial reductions in abundance, the fragmentation of remaining populations and the virtual disappearance of this species from commercial catches in regions where it was once considered fairly common.
|Range Description:||The knifetooth sawfish was historically a relatively common euryhaline or marginal large-bodied sawfish of the Indo-Pacific Region. It has been reported in inshore and estuarine environments from the mouth of the Suez Canal, Egypt, throughout the Red Sea, the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, the northern Indian Ocean, the Indo-Australian Archipelago from Australia north to Borneo, but not reported from the Philippines (Last and Stevens 1994). In Southeast Asia it was reported from the Gulf of Thailand, Kampuchea (Cambodia) and Vietnam. In eastern Asia it was reported from China to Korea and out to the southern portion of Japan (Honshu), as well as the north west corner of Taiwan (Annandale 1909, Fowler 1941, Blegvad and Loppenthin 1944, Stead 1963, Misra 1969, Chen and Chung 1971, Gloerfelt-Tarp and Kailola 1984, Sainsbury et al. 1985, Paxton et al. 1989, Last and Stevens 1994, Compagno and Cook 1995a).
Brackish water records have been reported from the Oriomo River estuary, Papua-New Guinea (Taniuchi et al. 1991). Records of this species occurring well up rivers in India (Day 1873), Malaysia (Stead 1963) and Thailand (Smith 1945) need verification (Compagno and Cook 1995a).
Native:Australia; Bangladesh; China; India (Andaman Is.); Indonesia; Japan; Korea, Republic of; Malaysia; Myanmar; Oman; Pakistan; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Singapore; Somalia; Sri Lanka; Taiwan, Province of China; Thailand; Viet Nam
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:||
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||Populations are becoming increasingly rare and fragmented and all those known are severely threatened by target and bycatch fisheries and deterioration of habitats.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||A marine, euryhaline (moving between fresh and salt water) or marginal (brackish water) species found from inshore waters to a depth of 40 m. Though details of its ecology are not precisely known, it probably spends most of its time on or near the bottom in the shallow coastal waters and estuaries it inhabits. The sawfishes are all ovoviviparous. Females of this species can be pregnant at 246 to 282 cm. Litters range from 6 to 23 young. Age at maturity, longevity and average generation time are unknown. Compagno et al. 2005, Last and Stevens 1994, Setna and Sarangdhar 1948 and 1949, Southwell 1910.|
The principal threat to all sawfishes is fisheries, both targeted and bycatch, commercial and subsistence. Their morphology, particularly the long tooth-studded saw, makes them extraordinarily vulnerable to entanglement in any sort of net gear, including primitive fishing technology, and regardless of population size (which was probably always fairly small). When sawfish are taken in bycatch, they are often retained (particularly in areas where there is no legal protection) because of the very high value of their products (meat is high quality and fins and rostral saws extremely valuable in international trade). They are also targeted opportunistically for the same reasons.
This species has been landed intensively in broad spectrum fisheries from India to Thailand and most other locales where it occurs in the Indo-Pacific. It is caught for its flesh in parts of Asia, and has an oil-rich liver. The rostrum has been reported ground up for use in traditional Chinese medicine (McDavitt 1996).
According to the FAO online database, FIGIS, sawfish landings were recorded between 1962 and 2001, with a peak of 1,759 t in 1978 worldwide, but many of these were from the Atlantic and some annual figures appear to be extrapolations from previous years. A strong decline in reported landings took place between 1984 and 1995, partly masked by estimates of constant landings by FAO (it is unclear how these estimates were reached). Landings declared by Pakistan between 1987 and 1995, reaching an unlikely 84 t in 1990, may have included this species. Reported landings have since declined steeply. Most reports suggest that numbers taken by fisheries from a great many localities have fallen noticeably since the 1960s, if not earlier.
There is increasing demand for live sawfish to put on display in public aquaria. The mortality rates associated with securing live sawfishes for this use is unknown.
During Stanford University's field collection expeditions for the George Vanderbilt Foundation (GVF) from 1959?1962 in the Gulf of Thailand this species was commonly reported in commercial catches. A number of specimens were returned to the United States and are currently housed with the GVF collection at the California Academy of Sciences, Department of Ichthyology, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA 94118. In recent visits to Thailand (1993 and 1996), Sabah (N. Borneo, Malaysia) (1996), mainland Malaysia (1996), and Singapore (1996), the account authors did not observe any specimens of this species in the commercial catch in 25 market visits. Local observers in Thailand report this species has not been seen in the catch there for most of the past 15 years. There is one small fairly recently-collected specimen of knifetooth sawfish in the Zoological Research Collection (ZRC), at the National University of Singapore (Compagno et al. 2005).
Due the virtual disappearance of this species from commercial catches in regions where it was once considered fairly common, the global population of this species is considered to be much less than 80% of its former levels 30 to 50 years ago.
Anoxypristis cuspidata has been assessed as Vulnerable by the Australian Society for Fish Biology (ASFB) (Daley et al. 2002, Pognoski et al. 2000) and may be nominated for protection as ?at Conservation-risk? under Australia?s Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC).
India?s Ministry of Environment and Forests has protected all species of sawfishes under the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) 1972 since 2001.
In January 2006, eBay announced it would ban the sale of sawfish parts and products on their on-line auction site. This measure will require vigilant monitoring within eBay with the help of outside experts.
All species of Pristidae have been listed under Appendix I of CITES (2007), except Pristis microdon which is listed under Appendix II.
Also found within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
|Citation:||Compagno, L.J.V., Cook, S.F., Oetinger, M.I. & Fowler, S.L. 2006. Anoxypristis cuspidata. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 May 2013.|
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