February 26, 2016

Northern Territory News
26 February 2016

Sawfishes and river sharks are protected species; if they are caught by recreational anglers they must be released safely back into the water. Fishers who are lucky enough to experience a close encounter with one of our protected sawfish or river shark species are meeting with some of the most interesting inhabitants of our northern waterways. By reporting sightings anglers can help researchers better understand the distribution of these species. 

To better understand the status of northern Australia’s current sawfish and river shark populations, research is being conducted under the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Programme program (NESP), through a partnership between Fisheries NT, Charles Darwin University (CDU) and CSIRO with support from Kakadu National Park and traditional owners.

Project leader, Dr Peter Kyne from CDU says “The project will provide the Department of the Environment with information to improve management and facilitate the recovery of these species. These species are poorly known, but we have recently discovered new populations of some, including the Critically Endangered Speartooth Shark in the Daly River.” It seems the species has a broader distribution and more opportunities for long-term survival than previously thought.

Seen or caught a sawfish or a river shark? Send an email to: peter.kyne@cdu.edu.au.

Image - Speartooth Shark pup - please handle and release with care (credit: Charlotte Klempin)