- According to WWF-Pakistan, only three authentic records of long comb sawfish found in Pakistan in last 10 years.
- Because of decline in sawfish populations worldwide, the IUCN listed all sawfish species as critically endangered.
- Sawfish have a long life, slow growth, late maturity, and low fecundity, making them extremely vulnerable to any changes.
KARACHI: An extremely rare and critically endangered longcomp sawfish was caught by a fisherman near Jiwani, Balochistan on Saturday (October 29).
According to a statement issued by the WWF-Pakistan, this specie, scientifically known as Pristis zijsron, is considered to be extremely rare and faces the threat of extinction.
“Three species of sawfish, such as Knifetooth (Anoxypristis cuspidatus), a large tooth (Pristis pristis) and a large comb (Pristis zijsron), are reported found in Pakistan,” it said, adding that however, due to overfishing and habitat degradation, the population of sawfish has decreased substantially and they are now considered to be nearly extinct at the local level.
According to WWF-Pakistan, only three authentic records of their occurrence have been found in Pakistan in the last 10 years. The last authentic record of the occurrence of this species was reported on May 30, 2013 when a large longcomb sawfish (rostrum 113 cm) was caught by fishermen at Khajar Creek.
There used to be a large fishery of sawfish in Pakistan before 1970, however, their population collapsed by the 1980s, because of high mortality in fishing gears.
“Sawfish have a long life, slow growth, late maturity, and low fecundity, making them extremely vulnerable to any changes that may reduce their population,” the WWF-Pakistan statement read.
Sawfish rostrums (saws) can easily become entangled in nets and other fishing gear, making them vulnerable targets for overfishing.
Hearing about the incident, Ghulam Nabi, a senior fisherman from Jiwani and a team from WWF-Pakistan, were dispatched to the location and collected the necessary information about the sawfish.
According to the fishermen, the fish was caught in a bottom set gill net deployed to catch demersal fishes at the border between Pakistan and Iran. They revealed that the sawfish was an extremely rare occurrence and it was caught after about 30 years in the area. At one time, sawfish dominated among shark species, but due to the introduction of motorised fishing vessels and nylon nets, their population started to dwindle. This species is now almost extinct.
Because of the decline in sawfish populations worldwide, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed all sawfish species as ‘critically endangered’.