|Scientific Name:||Pristis zijsron|
|Species Authority:||Bleeker, 1851|
|Taxonomic Notes:||The genus Pristis is taxonomically chaotic with uncertainty regarding the true number of valid species (Compagno and Cook 1995a). The practical difficulties associated with resolving these taxonomic issues are acute, since it is extremely difficult to obtain specimens or tissue samples from these increasingly rare species for taxonomic research. P. zijsron is a member of the ?Pristis pectinata complex?, probably also containing P. clavata, with narrow-based, less tapered, lighter rostral saws, with more numerous (usually over 23), smaller teeth than species of the Pristis pristis complex.|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Critically Endangered A2bcd+3cd+4bcd ver 3.1|
|Assessor/s:||Compagno, L.J.V., Cook, S.F. & Oetinger, M.I.|
|Reviewer/s:||Valenti, S.V., Gibson, C. & participants of the Shark Specialist Group Subequatorial Africa workshop (Shark Red List Authority)|
A very large, formerly common, Indo-West Pacific sawfish recorded mainly in inshore marine habitats, also reported from freshwater. Like all sawfishes, it is extremely vulnerable to capture by target and bycatch fishing throughout its range, which has contracted significantly as a result. All populations are now very seriously depleted, with records having become extremely infrequent over the last 30 to 40 years.
|Range Description:||This Indo-Pacific species has been recorded from South Africa to the Persian/Arabian Gulf, Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and the Indo-Australian Archipelago (Fowler 1941, Blegvad and Løppenthin 1944, Smith 1945, Bigelow and Schroeder 1953, Stead 1963, Misra 1969, Grant 1972, Paxton et al. 1989, Compagno et al. in press b, Last and Stevens 1994). Freshwater records have been made from Thailand, possibly in the Tachin River and Songkhla Lake (where the species has not been recorded for many years, Cook and Compagno 1994), Malaysia, Indonesia (Kalimantan at Bandjermassing, Java and Ternate Islands) and in Australia from Queensland in Lake Macquarie, and New South Wales in the Clarence River (Fowler 1941, Smith 1945, Stead 1963, Grant 1972, Paxton et al. 1989, Last and Stevens 1994, Compagno et al. in press b).
Contraction of the range of this species has been reported in Australia, where green sawfish once occurred at least as far south as Sydney, but now are virtually extinct in New South Wales and are very rarely found south of Townsville (CSIRO Media Release - Ref PR04_158 - Sep 01, 2004), and in South Africa, where sawfishes are apparently no longer resident in areas such as Lake St Lucia.
Native:Australia (New South Wales, Queensland); Cambodia; China; India; Indonesia (Jawa, Kalimantan); Malaysia; Mauritius; Mozambique; Myanmar; Oman; Pakistan; Papua New Guinea; Somalia; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Viet Nam
|FAO Marine Fishing Areas:||
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||No information available on original population size or abundance, but this formerly common very large sawfish has undergone significant contraction of its range and a huge decline in abundance in areas where it is still reported to occur.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||
Pristis zijsron inhabits muddy bottom habitats and enters estuaries (Allen 1997). It has been recorded in inshore marine waters to at least 40 m depth, in brackish water (estuaries and coastal lakes) and in rivers. Stead (1963) reported that this species was frequently found in shallow water. Its habitat is heavily fished and often also subject to pollution, habitat loss and degradation from coastal, riverine and catchment developments.
This is the largest sawfish species, growing to at least 5 m and possibly over 7.3 metres long. Males are mature by 430 cm (Last and Stevens 1994). It is ovoviviparous, giving birth to large young. Grant (1978) suggested that adult males use their saws during mating battles. Sawfishes generally feed on slow-moving shoaling fish such as mullet, which are stunned by sideswipes of the snout. Molluscs and small crustaceans are also swept out of the sand and mud by the saw (Allen 1982, Cliff and Wilson 1994). A male captured as a juvenile survived 35 years in captivity.
|Major Threat(s):||This species has been exploited intensively, both as a target species and as incidental bycatch in commercial, sport or shark-control net fisheries and for aquarium display throughout its range. As a result of past landings, combined with its strongly K-selected life history pattern, it has become severely depleted in recent decades and now appears to have been extirpated from many parts of its range, including South Africa, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. It also has not been seen in some of its former freshwater habitats (i.e., Songklha Lake, (Malay Peninsula) Thailand for some 30 to 40 years (Cook and Compagno 1994). The species is probably now only easy to find in Australia, where it is commonly entangled in net gear set for barramundi (Lates calcarifer), considered a good eating species for human consumption and finds ready markets where landed (Last and Stevens 1994). Even in Australia, the species has declined significantly in range and abundance. In the past, net fishermen working the muddy estuaries of the Queensland coastline found high bycatch of Pristis zijsron to be a serious problem, even though the meat was high quality and marketed (Grant 1978, Pognoski et al. 2002). An average of 0.0020 Pristis zijsron (standard deviation of 0.0020) per hour trawled per km of headrope length (n/h/km) were taken as bycatch in the Northern Prawn Fishery in the Gulf of Carpentaria in 1997 to 1998 (Stobutzki et al. 2000). In the Moreton Bay area there have been no reports of this species since the 1960s (Johnson 1999). It has also been extremely rare anywhere on the east coast of Australia in the last 25 to 30 years, with no new specimens having been secured by museum and research institute collections (Pognoski et al. 2002).|
India?s Ministry of Environment and Forests has protected sawfishes under the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) 1972 since 2001.
This species may occur in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia.
The species was listed as an Endangered Species in New South Wales (Australia) waters in 1999, under the Fisheries Management Act 1994.
Listed as Endangered by the Australian Society for Fish Biology.
Nominated and considered for listing as Vulnerable under the Commonwealth's Endangered Species Protection Act 1992, but listing not made because of lack of information.
Actions needed: Strict legal protection throughout range; monitoring of bycatch; collection of biological and demographic data from accidental captures and aquarium specimens.
All species of Pristidae have been listed under Appendix I of CITES (2007), except Pristis microdon which is listed under Appendix II (comment added by LRH May 27th 2010).
|Citation:||Compagno, L.J.V., Cook, S.F. & Oetinger, M.I. 2006. Pristis zijsron. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 May 2013.|
|Feedback:||If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please fill in the feedback form so that we can correct or extend the information provided|