Caribbean countries unanimously agreed to protect endangered Largetooth Sawfish under the Cartagena Convention, based on a proposal from the Netherlands.
Seventeen member governments are thereby obligated to impose national protections for the species and cooperate regionally to recover populations.
The largetooth sawfish (Pristis pristis) is found worldwide in tropical and subtropical coastal regions, but also enters freshwater. All five sawfish species worldwide are classified as Endangered or Critically Endangered under the IUCN Red List.
The main threat is overfishing, but it also suffers from habitat loss. Like other rays, low reproductive rates leave them exceptionally vulnerable to overfishing. Incidental catch is the main threat to sawfish; their tooth-studded snouts are easily entangled in nets.
Among the 75 countries where recorded historically, it has disappeared from 28 and may have disappeared from another 27, leaving only 20 countries where certainly still present.
“We are pleased that governments from across the Caribbean have seen the value of saving the iconic and irreplaceable largetooth sawfish,”said Olga Koubrak, SeaLife Lawlegal advisor. “Sawfish are among the world’s most endangered marine species and urgently need strict legal protections wherever they remain.”