A Florida man catches a 500-pound, prehistoric-looking fish which is on the IUCN 'critically endangered' species list.
Early Sunday morning, Floridian Dustin Richter was fishing with his friends when he caught a rare, prehistoric-looking fish. The 500-pound fish turned out to be an endangered species called sawfish.
Richter and his friends were fishing for a while near Bonyton Beach Inlet with no luck when his line was hit. He and his friends struggled for two hours trying to reel in the massive fish. He told WSVN-TV of Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, “I kinda got to the light and we saw the fish, [I] realized it was a sawfish.” He added, “We were amazed, because it was 11 feet long and the bill was 4 feet long and it was just a crazy find.”
Catching a sawfish is a spectacular find. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies sawfish as “critically endangered.” According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “smalltooth sawfish have declined dramatically in U.S. waters over the last century.”
The IUCN said that at one point there were so many sawfish caught in areas of Pakistan that people made fences with the rostrums, the saw-like beak of the sawfish. However, those same people in Pakistan may only see one or two sawfish a year. Both the IUCN and OCAA attribute this decline in the sawfish population to a host of issues: over-fishing for the sawtooth rostrums and meat, unintentional catching from nets and trawl lines and constant recaptures of the fish.
Sawfish are in the same family as skates and sharks and pose no threat to humans. They used to be found in many warm-water areas like the South-Eastern United States, South America, Asia and Australia. Now they are found only in Florida and in a northern area of Australia.
The IUCN already protects the sawfish in the United States and is moving to make the protection world-wide. Now fishermen have been issued pamphlets on how to deal with sawfish and release them and, in accordance Richter released this massive sawfish shortly after the catch.