First International Sawfish Day was observed on October 17, 2017. The event has been created by The DEEP in partnership with the Sawfish Conservation Society (SCS), the European and American Associations of Zoos and Aquariums to increase awareness about the threat they face. The Deep is the only aquarium in the UK to house the Critically Endangered Green sawfish (as classified by the IUCN).
Sawfishes or Carpenter Sharks are a family of rays characterized by a long, narrow, flattened rostrum, or nose extension, lined with sharp transverse teeth, arranged in a way that resembles a saw.
There are five identified species of sawfish viz. Dwarf sawfish; Knife-tooth sawfish; Small-tooth sawfish; Large-tooth sawfish and Green sawfish.
Sawfish are elasmobranchs, which means that their skeleton is made of cartilage. They are closely related to sharks and have shark shaped bodies and, hence, are also called flat sharks. Global populations of every species of sawfishes are estimated to have fallen to less than 10% of their historic levels, and they have been lost from at least 80% of their historic range. According to scientists, sawfish are more threatened than tigers due to destructive fishing practises, habitat destruction and the curio trade.
The members of sawfish family have been assessed either ‘Endangered’ or ‘Critically Endangered’ in the IUCN Red List. They are also included in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.