WATCH: Three Sawfish Up to 12-Feet Long Discovered in Indian River in Melbourne Beach

By  //  May 5, 2020

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sawfish are currently on the critically endangered list

WATCH: Three giant smalltooth sawfish were captured on video by Michael Alvarez next to a dock in the shallow water in the Indian River in Melbourne Beach. (Michael Alvarez video)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE BEACH, FLORIDA – Three giant smalltooth sawfish were captured on video by Michael Alvarez next to a dock in the shallow water in the Indian River in Melbourne Beach.

“Got to witness something amazing this morning in Melbourne Beach in the Indian River,” said Michael Alvarez.

“Never thought I would ever see one of these saw nose fish especially this big and up close like this. The best part is that there were three of them! With a rough measurement, we estimated at least 12 feet long for the one in the video.”

After capturing the Smalltooth sawfish, Pristis pectinata on video, Alvarez posted his video on Facebook.

Although they swim like sharks, they are more closely related to stingrays because they have gill slits under their bodies rather than on the sides of their bodies. Sawfish are born at about 2-feet long and can grow up to 17-feet.

Historically, sawfish were a common sight off Florida’s coastline. However, they have become less common during the last century because they were unintentionally overfished.

WATCH: Three giant smalltooth sawfish were captured on video by Michael Alvarez next to a dock in the shallow water in the Indian River in Melbourne Beach. (Michael Alvarez video)

Their long saws, referred to scientifically as “rostrums” or “rostra”, were easily entangled in any kind of fishing gear.

Sawfish rostrums have also been popular trophy items. Since these fish produce few young, it has been a challenge for their population to recover after being depleted.

As a result, sawfish have been protected in Florida since 1992 and the smalltooth sawfish is currently listed as endangered Adobe PDF under the United States Endangered Species Act.

They should be released unharmed if accidentally caught while fishing for other species. It is important to note that sawfish rostrums should never be removed.

Very little is known about this spectacular fish, so scientists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute initiated a research program to learn more.

They are asking for help from the public via the Sawfish Survey. This statewide survey provides a means for anglers, boaters, and beach-goers to help biologists learn more about the areas in which sawfish are sighted.

If you catch a sawfish while fishing for other species or happen to see one while you are near the water, please contact us.

To report a sawfish sighting:

E-mail: Sawfish@MyFWC.com

Telephone: 941-255-7403 or 844-472-9347 (1-844-4SAWFISH)

To file a report of a sawfish sighting or encounter, please include the date and time of the encounter, the location, the estimated length of each sawfish, the water depth, and any other relevant details.

WATCH: Three giant smalltooth sawfish were captured on video by Michael Alvarez next to a dock in the shallow water in the Indian River in Melbourne Beach. (Michael Alvarez video)

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