In 2022 the reassessments of all four species of sawfish under the criteria of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) Redlist commenced, and it was a global effort. Sawfish researchers from all over the world worked together to identify and assess the current distributions, habitats and ecology, population status, as well as ongoing threats for all five species.

Sadly, since the last assessments of sawfishes, in many regions the threats posed to these bizarre fishes have not declined and as a result all five species are now considered as globally Critically Endangered. With Australia being home to the last significant populations of four species of sawfish, what happens here matters greatly. While some species are still found in other countries, and for example freshwater sawfish Pristis pristis are being rediscovered in Central America, the genetic diversity in Australian populations of this species needs to be protected.

The assessments are comprehensive and in-depth. They represent a good starting point for anyone who is interested in understanding these species better.

Freshwater sawfish – Pristis pristis

Espinoza M, Bonfil-Sanders R, Carlson J, Charvet P, Chevis M, Dulvy NK, Everett B, Faria V, Ferretti F, Fordham S, Grant MI, Haque AB, Harry AV, Jabado RW, Jones, GCA, Kelez S, Lear KO, Morgan DL, Phillips NM, Wueringer BE. 2022. Pristis pristisThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2022: e.T18584848A58336780. Link

Dwarf sawfish – Pristis clavata

Grant MI, Charles R, Fordham S, Harry AV, Lear KO, Morgan DL, Phillips NM, Simeon B, Wakhida Y, Wueringer BE. 2022. Pristis clavataThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2022: e.T39390A68641215. Link

Green sawfish – Pristis zijsron

Harry AV, Everett B, Faria V, Fordham S, Grant MI, Haque AB, Ho H, Jabado RW, Jones GCA, Lear KO, Morgan DL, Phillips NM, Spaet JLY, Tanna A, Wueringer BE. 2022. Pristis zijsronThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2022: e.T39393A58304631. Link

Narrow sawfish – Anoxypristis cuspidata

Haque, A.B., Charles, R., D’Anastasi, B., Dulvy, N.K., Faria, V., Fordham, S., Grant, M.I., Harry, A.V., Jabado, R.W., Lear, K.O., Morgan, D.L., Tanna, A., Wakhida, Y. & Wueringer, B.E. 2023. Anoxypristis cuspidataThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2023: e.T39389A58304073. Link

Smalltooth sawfish – Pristis pectinata

Carlson, J., Blanco-Parra, MP, Bonfil-Sanders, R., Charles, R., Charvet, P., Chevis, M., Dulvy, N.K., Espinoza, M., Faria, V., Ferretti, F., Fordham, S., Giovos, I., Graham, J., Grubbs, D., Pacoureau, N. & Phillips, N.M. 2022. Pristis pectinataThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2022: e.T18175A58298676. Link