March 12, 2014

In September 2012, as Top End floodplains were drying, NERP Marine Biodiversity Hub and Northern Hub scientist Peter Kyne received an alert from Daly River Traditional Owner Rita Purak that two largetooth sawfish (Pristis pristis) were stranded in a waterhole near the Daly River.  Rita knew the sawfish were uncommon because she had been helping Charles Darwin University scientist Peter Kyne and CSIRO's Richard Pillans with their field work, monitoring the movements of sawfish in the Northern Territory’s largest perennial river.  Independent film maker Jacqui Hyne documented the rescue on video.

Peter and Richard have been sampling and tagging largetooth sawfish, speartooth sharks (Glyphis glyphis) and northern river sharks (Glyphis garricki) in the Top End for the past two years, seeking information about the species’ life history and populations to guide decisions about conservation, wildlife trade regulation and management.  Their research is led by the Marine Biodiversity hub of the National Environmental Research Program. Their findings are also contributing to a Northern Australia hub project which is investigating the key factors that sustain aquatic species, and the importance of connectivity between the floodplain, river and ocean.

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Watch the video

See how Daly River Traditional Owners helped Charles Darwin University scientists rescue nine critically endangered sawfish from a drying waterhole near the Daly River in the Northern Territory:

Sawfish survival from Northern Biodiversity on Vimeo.