NOAA may list largetooth sawfish as an endangered species
74 Fed. Reg. 37671 / Vol. 74, No. 144 / Wednesday, July 29, 2009 / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / 50 CFR Parts 223 and 224 / Listing Endangered and Threatened Species and Designating Critical Habitat: Notice of Finding on a Petition To List the Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis perotteti) as an Endangered or Threatened Species Under the Endangered Species Act
ACTION: Notice of finding, request for information, and initiation of status review
SUMMARY: We, NMFS, announce a 90 day finding on a petition to list largetooth sawfish (Pristis perotteti) as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We find that the petition presents substantial scientific and commercial information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted. We will conduct a status review of largetooth sawfish to determine if the petitioned action is warranted. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial data regarding this species (see below). DATES: Information and comments on the subject action must be received by September 28, 2009.
Sawfish in general inhabit the shallow coastal waters in tropical, subtropical and warm-temperate waters. They are typically found very close to shore lying on muddy and sandy bottoms, in bays, estuaries, and lagoons. However, Largetooth sawfish move among
salinity gradients freely and appear to have more physiological tolerance of freshwater than smalltooth sawfish Photo from opencage.info
KEITHINKING: In a 2000 ruling on a prior petition, NOAA said it would “maintain the largetooth sawfish as a candidate species, and continue to solicit more information regarding this species to resolve doubts regarding its range and taxonomy.” 65 Fed. Reg. 12959. Wildearth Guardians latest petition compelled NOAA to reconsider those doubts, and argued that NOAA "inappropriately discounts the historic abundance of Largetooth Sawfish in Texas waters and elsewhere along the United States Gulf Coast." However, the information gap remains, and in the recent notice, NOAA again cautions that "Quantitative data on largetooth sawfish population trends are lacking in the petition and our files" and that "There is little information in the petition or our files related to genetic, morphological, or other population structure differences within the species beyond the unique freshwater population of Lake Nicaragua..."
LINKS: NOAA information and links, and Wildearth Guardians petition to list the longtooth sawfish.