*Please note: This workshop has since been cancelled due to COVID-19*
The goal of the Endangered Species Act is to protect and recover listed species until the point they no longer need the protections afforded by the Act. After the smalltooth sawfish was listed as an Endangered species in 2003, NOAA Fisheries convened the Smalltooth Sawfish Recovery Team to develop a plan to recover the U.S. population. The team worked several years to build additional knowledge of the species and to identify the most severe threats to the population in the United States. These efforts were published in the 2009 Recovery Plan which recommends specific steps to recover the population, focusing on (1) educating the public to minimize human interactions with sawfish and any associated injury and mortality, (2) protecting and/or restoring important sawfish habitats, and (3) ensuring sawfish abundance and distribution increase.
After the plan was published, the team morphed into a recovery implementation team*. Comprised of partners from federal and state governments, non-government organizations, universities, and the fishing industry, the team is working to implement the recovery plan by protecting the remaining sawfish population in the U.S. while simultaneously trying to increase its abundance. The team meets annually to review what was learned through research in the previous year and set goals for the upcoming year. The sawfish team has been an excellent example of collaboration and dedication by multiple partners for the good of the species, and the sawfish population is already showing some positive signs of recovery. Continued oversight of management and protections of the species and its habitats will ensure that sawfish numbers increase, and their range expands.
To provide the public with information about ongoing sawfish management and research efforts and to foster support for this endangered species, the U.S. Smalltooth Sawfish Recovery Implementation Team is excited to announce their website and social media accounts. Visit www.SawfishRecovery.org to meet the team members, learn about the biology of sawfish and the causes of the population decline, and review the recommended sawfish releasing and viewing guidelines. From the website you can also provide details of your sawfish captures or sightings, which are used to track recovery and guide future research. Follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for regular updates on management, research, and outreach efforts.
In collaboration with the Florida Guides Association, several members of the team will be hosting a public workshop the evening of April 7, 2020 at Port of the Islands Resort in Naples, Florida. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5:30 for meet and greet with team members, followed by informational presentations at 6, then an informal Q&A session until 8:30. The on-site Angler’s Cove Restaurant and Bar will offer food and drink for purchase during the event.
Find the U.S. Sawfish Recovery Implementation Team:
Facebook: U.S. Sawfish Recovery
Tonya Wiley, President
Tax-deductible donations to help us continue our mission to promote the sustainable use and conservation of marine resources through research, outreach, and education can be made at https://www.oceanfdn.org/donate/havenworth-coastal-conservation
*Sawfish News author Tonya Wiley is an appointed member of the Smalltooth Sawfish Recovery Implementation Team.
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