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Seaweek 2008

Freshwater sawfish

In 2008 Seaweek’s theme is "Extinction - a Saw point" highlighting the plight of the declining sawfish.

“Sawfish populations have declined over the years because of pressures imposed on them from fishing and modification of their habitat. Sawfish are vulnerable to most forms of fishing in particular net fisheries as at any size their toothed rostrum is easily entangled in the mesh“


The MESA SW08 working party and MESA state reps are working in partnership with the Northern Gulf Resource Management Group as the official sponsors of Seaweek 2008 .We also thank the additional partners involved in the sourcing and development of material and resources for this website.

Seaweek 2008 will largely be web based to reduce our footprint, so keep your eyes peeled as we develop some great materials. We encourage you all to send in whatever material or links you might be aware of to support the sawfish theme, that may be able to be incorporated into our resources.

Vic - Seaweek Banner Competition

Your school's task is to design and construct a banner highlighting some aspects of this year's theme relating to threatened Australian marine species.

more ...




  • increase awareness of conservation issues and the steps taken by Australian fishing industry to mitigate interactions with the endangered sawfish;
  • showcase innovative technologies used by fishers to monitor and better understand sawfish biology and behaviour;
  • continue to encourage research and investment into new technologies and best fishing practices that help mitigate interactions with protected species.
Key messages
  1 Sawfish are members of the ray family (Pristidae) and are characterised by a heavily toothed saw (rostrum) and shark like fins.
  2 Sawfish are long-lived, late maturing, and produce few young. These life history characteristics make sawfish populations highly susceptible to overfishing. Sawfish populations are slow to recover if overfished.

Major Sponsor
Northern Gulf Resource Management Group

more about our sponsors ..  

Seaweek is a national educational campaign that aims to acknowledge our partners and colleagues involved in marine environmental education and further acknowledge actions for the conservation and sustainable management of the marine environment. It is conducted annually to focus community awareness, provide information and encourage an appreciation of the sea. Seaweek is committed to the United Nations “Decade of Education for Sustainable Development”.


  3 Sawfish are threatened by human activities especially habitat modification and their incidental capture in the commercial net and recreational baitnet and line fisheries.
Learning about sawfish
  4 Sawfish have cultural significance to some Indigenous Australians. For example they have been identified as totem species in different northern Australian tribal groups.




In Australia, our fisheries and management agencies are trying to reduce sawfish interaction through better education and awareness programs, as well as targeted enforcement of fisheries regulations and investment in monitoring and research programs.

By working together, fishers, researchers and the government have introduced technologies and innovations, including changes to fishing gear and practices, that are environmentally friendly to Australian sawfish populations.

  7 There have been a number of success stories including the implementation of better sawfish reporting systems in the commercial and recreational fishing sector and, more importantly, increase in community knowledge on sawfish biology and ecology and the threatening processes impacting on their survival.

Sawfish Resources for Seaweek 2008

Information Sheets
Scientific Papers
Teaching activities
Photo Gallery
Live webcasts - make a booking!
Australian Sawfish (Powerpoint)
Sawfish Biology & Ecology (Powerpoint)
Animated Story - The adventures of Sonya the freshwater sawfish
Review of The adventures of Sonya the freshwater sawfish
Online colouring page - Sonya meets Flick
Online jigsaw puzzle
Sawfish word puzzle (pdf)

Other Threatened Marine Species around Australia

New South Wales - Grey Nurse Shark
Queensland - Some Threatened Species of the Great Barrier Reef
South Australia - Western Blue Groper & Harlequin fish
Tasmania - Spotted Handfish
Victoria - Grey Nurse Shark
Southern Australia - Hooded Plover

Seaweek 2008 - What happened around Australia


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