NOAA finds listing of 5 species of sawfish may be warranted
76 Fed. Reg. 12308 (Monday, March 7, 2011) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
50 CFR Parts 223 and 224
Listing Endangered and Threatened Species: 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List Six Species of Sawfishes as Endangered or Threatened Species Under the Endangered Species Act
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding, request for information, and initiation of status review.
SUMMARY: We, NMFS, announce a 90- day finding on a petition to list six species of sawfish: Anoxyprisitis cuspidata, Prisitis clavata, P. microdon, P. pristis, P. zijsron, and the remaining non-listed population(s) of P. pectinata as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We find that the petition and information in our files present substantial information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted for five of the sawfish species petitioned (A. cuspidata, P. clavata, P. microdon, P. zijsron, and all non-listed population(s) of P. pectinata). We find that the petition and information in our files do not present substantial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted for P. pristis. We will conduct a status review of the five species of sawfish (A. cuspidata, P. clavata, P. microdon, P. zijsron, and all non-listed population(s)of P. pectinata) to determine if the petitioned action is warranted. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial data regarding these species (see below).
DATES: Information and comments on the subject action must be received by May 6, 2011.
Sawfishes are elasmobranches that historically were once widespread in tropical to warm temperate, shallow, nearshore marine habitats, estuaries, large rivers, and some lakes. Their distribution was presumably oncecontinuous in suitable habitat, but is now severely fragmented with many populations extirpated from large parts of their former range and remaining populations seriously depleted. Information suggests that the primary threat to all sawfish species is from fisheries. Sawfishes are caught as bycatch in various fishing gears (rod and reel, shrimp nets, trawls, and gill nets). Sawfish species are highly susceptible to entanglement in fishing gears because their toothed-rostrum makes it difficult to avoid entanglement in almost all types of mesh nets. The saw becomes entangled in the net and fishers often harm the animal (remove their saw or kill them) when removing them from their nets. In some locations where they are or were abundant enough, sawfishes have been directly targeted because of their value as marine curio, weapons for cockfighting, medicines, and use in aquaria. Photo by Stacina taken at Aquarium of the Pacific, available online from Flickr