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Narrow Sawfish
Anoxypristis cuspidata (Latham, 1974)

Other names: Sawfish

Conservation status: IUCN Red List - Critically endangered

Description: The narrow sawfish has a slender body. It has smooth skin that goes slimy after the animal dies. They are green grey coloured when looked at from above and pale white underneath. The first dorsal fin is behind the pelvic fin origin and there is a deep fork in the caudal fin. The rostrum teeth do not extend onto the base of the saw; and the rostrum does not taper from one end to the other like rostrums of freshwater and dwarf sawfishes.

Major distinguishing features:

1. 18-24 pairs of teeth not extending onto base of saw
2. deep fork in caudal fin
3. smooth skin

Where they are found : Most widely distributed and abundant sawfish in Queensland waters. They are also found in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

The species prefers inshore coastal mud and sand foreshores and bays mostly in its juvenile life stages. Large mature animals are commonly found in offshore waters to a depth of 40m. The species is very rarely encountered upstream of river mouths in estuarine water.

Narrow sawfish are commonly caught in trawling nets whilst the sawfish chase small fish and squid.

A Gulf of Carpentaria (GoC) commercial shark fisher placing a pit tag into a mature narrow sawfish. Note the shiny complexion of the skin and how smooth it is.

Size: Narrow sawfish can grow to a maximum size of 470 cm.

Diet: They eat prawns, squid and fish.

Fisheries: Commercial trawl, gill net and long line fisheries. Recreational line fishery and bait collection using small mesh cast nets and seine nets. Indigenous net and harpoon fishing. Foreign illegal gill net and line fishing.

Utilisation: Meat and fins; rostrum trophy collectors.

GoC commercial shark fisher untangling the mesh
off the rostrum of a mature narrow sawfish
before the animal was tagged and released alive.

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About Sawfish
Sawfish anatomy
Narrow Sawfish
Freshwater Sawfish
Green Sawfish
Dwarf Sawfish
Threats to Sawfish
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