International Sawfish Day in Cairns, October 2019

By Nikki Biskis

In October 2019, SARA and the Cairns Aquarium teamed up for an International Sawfish Day event in Cairns. Our sampling event was hosted by the Cairns Aquarium. The event notice was sent to 6,000 people and we were ecstatic with the response from the Cairns community. Former fishers and their families brought in specimens of all sizes and species to be DNA sampled, all with incredible stories to tell.

Barbara samples a saw at a local fishing store

This engagement with the community is crucial, as it helps SARA to understand genetic diversity amongst sawfish populations, and how the distribution of sawfish species have changed over time.

Barbara is interviewed by Win News!

What came next was even more exciting – many continued to submit information of their old saws to SARA and the aquarium, prompting another round of local visits across Cairns for samples. Our project is ongoing, and submissions are always appreciated!

As of today, Sharks and Rays Australia has received around 420 submissions, sampled over 200 saws including 140 that were received in donation. It is events and partnerships with the community that make this all possible.

Nikki sampels a saw at a local store

A special thank you to Cairns Aquarium and to everyone who made International Sawfish Day a success!