MESA logo
  Information Sheets    
Home | About MESA | Contact MESA | Seaweek | Site Resources | Marine Links | International News | MESA History

SW08 Home |  Sawfish Information sheets |  Teaching Units |  Live webcasts |  Seaweek events |  Photo Gallery |  Other species Info |  Sponsors


Green Sawfish
Pristis zijsron (Bleeker, 1851)

Other names: Marine sawfish

Conservation status: IUCN Red List - Critically endangered; NSW – critically endangered; NT Fisheries - vulnerable

Description: Large slender bodied sawfish; skin rough; olive brown green dorsally and pale white ventrally; first dorsal fin in behind pelvic fin origin; no fork in caudal fin; rostrum teeth extend onto base of saw; rostrum does not taper distally like rostrums of freshwater and dwarf sawfishes.


1. 24 to 28 pairs of teeth; more closely spaced at tip and extend onto base of saw
2. no caudal fin fork
3. first dorsal fin origin well behind pelvic fin origin
4. rough skin

Note: (1) rostral teeth spaced greater at base of rostrum, (2) straight caudal fin, rough skin

Distribution: Reported in very low abundances to inhabit inshore and offshore waters of southern and central Queensland and in higher abundances in the northern region including the Gulf of Carpentaria. They are also found in the Northern Territory, New South Wales and Western Australia. Green sawfish inhabit coastal foreshores and bays mostly in their juvenile life stages and marine waters to a depth greater than 40m as adults. Adults are known to seasonally frequent inshore waters and rivers during the monsoonal months to pup.

Catches of green sawfish are very low and are highly variable. Juvenile green sawfish are vulnerable to capture by recreational line, cast and seine netting activities on coastal foreshores.

Size: maximum reported size 730cm

Diet: prawns 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; collection of live aquarium specimens.


Green sawfish listed as vulnerable

CANBERRA, March 2, 2008 AAP - The green sawfish has been listed as vulnerable under federal environmental laws, making it illegal to catch the fish within 200 nautical miles of the Australian shoreline.

The sawfish, which takes its name from its flattened head and elongated snout studded with up to 28 pairs of teeth, is virtually extinct in south-east Asia and rare outside of northern Australia.


Search site

About Sawfish
Sawfish anatomy
Narrow Sawfish
Freshwater Sawfish
Green Sawfish
Dwarf Sawfish
Threats to Sawfish
   Contact Web Manager © MESA 1999 - 2009
0.00000 secs   
  BriTer Solutions   SpiderByte Web Design Top