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Temporal Reductions in the Distribution and Abundance of U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes ( Pristis spp .). George H. Burgess and Tobey H. Curtis Florida Program for Shark Research Florida Museum of Natural History University of Florida.

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Temporal Reductions in the Distribution and Abundance of U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (Pristis spp.)

George H. BurgessandTobey H. Curtis

Florida Program for Shark Research Florida Museum of Natural History University of Florida


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U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (Like an axe murderer, he’s been in the headlines…There have been assertions that sawfish stalk bathers…and cut them in two. According to old whaling journals, the saws hunted whales in packs and sliced them up like so much salami. There are even accounts of sawfish attacking men in dories -- after reducing the boats to driftwood.”

--Field and Stream (1959)


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Where have the Sawfish gone?? U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (


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Where have the Sawfish gone?? U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (

Habitat Loss

Fishing Mortality


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300 + records from the Indian River Lagoon U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (

“an abundant species, permanently resident in the Indian River.”

(Evermann and Bean, 1897)

Photo  Tobey Curtis


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Extirpated from the Indian River Lagoon U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (

“The disappearance of this large ray from the Indian River system has been dramatic.”

(Snelson and Williams, 1981)

Photo  Tobey Curtis


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Entanglement U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (

- Gillnets

- Longlines


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# Records U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (

# Specimens

Pristis pectinata 359 765

Pristis perotteti 8 13

Pristis sp. 7 10

TOTAL 374 788

Sawfish Database Summary


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P. pectinata U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes ( 24+ teeth each side of rostrum

P. perotteti < 20 teeth each side of rostrum


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P. perotteti U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (records

1. 1940, Texas, 1 specimen

2. 1941, Florida, 1 specimen

3. 1941, Florida, 1 specimen

4. 1943, Texas, 6 specimens

5. 1943, Texas, 1 specimen

6. 1943, Texas, 1 specimen

7. 1943, Texas, 1 specimen

8. ????, Alabama?, 1 specimen


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? U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (

P. perotteti capture locations (N=4)


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P. pectinata U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (


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Numbers of U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (Pristis pectinata captured by State 1782-2003 (N = 762)

681

19

19

16

8

5

4

3

3

2

1

1

0


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N U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (

P. pectinata capture locations 1782-2003 (N=150)


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N U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (

P. pectinata capture locations 1900-2003 (N=125)


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N U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (

P. pectinata capture locations 1950-2003 (N=91)


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N U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (

P. pectinata capture locations 1985-2003 (N=52)


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Recent Record U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (: 18 July 2002

East of Savannah, Georgia

-- First sawfish captured north of Florida since 1963 --

Photo  Tobey Curtis


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Numbers of U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (Pristis pectinata captured 1782-2000 (N = 729) and Atlantic/Gulf Fishery Landings 1880-2000

SFNRC Recreational Fishery Database (T. Schmidt)

Pre-1900

1900-1919

1920-1939

1940-1959

1960-1979

1980-2000


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All Areas U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (

Florida

Length Frequency of Pristis pectinata captured 1782-2003 (N = 106)

294 kg

460 cm TL


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Endangered Species Act U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (

U.S. Federal Register April 1, 2003


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS U.S. Atlantic Sawfishes (

- Sawfish Status Review Team - William Adams, Steve Branstetter, Jose Castro, Jennifer Lee, Jack Musick

- Colin Simpfendorfer, Mote Marine Laboratory

- Tom Schmidt, South Florida Natural Resources Center

- All Museum curators who shared records

- All other scientists and fishers who shared records

- Barbara O’Bannon, NMFS Fisheries Statistics Office

- Rebecca Murray, Rachel Worthen, Kevin Coyne, Craig Knickle, and Jamie Barichivich (FLMNH) for early literature review, database organization, and data analysis

- Funding from NOAA/NMFS to the National Shark Research Consortium


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