FWC Biologists Find Record-Setting 16-Foot, 1,000-Pound Sawfish Dead in Florida Keys

By  //  April 17, 2021

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16-foot sawfish is longest measured by scientists since research began on species

A record-setting 16-foot sawfish that ranks as the longest ever measured by researchers was found dead in the Florida Keys, said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. (FWC image)

(FWC) – A record-setting 16-foot sawfish that ranks as the longest ever measured by researchers was found dead in the Florida Keys, said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

FWC sawfish biologists responded to a sawfish hotline report of two large smalltooth sawfish that died in the Florida Keys this week.

One was a mature 16-foot female that weighed an estimated 800-1,000 pounds and the other was an immature female 12 feet, 4 inches long, and weighed an estimated 400-500 pounds.

The 16-foot sawfish is the longest measured by scientists since research began on the species.

“There was no obvious cause of death for either sawfish, however, valuable life history information was and will continue to be collected from both carcasses due to the swift response from Keys-based FWC staff and MCSO – the Florida Keys to secure the carcass for study,” said FWC biologists on social media.

Sawfish biologists are working to learn as much as possible from the samples they collected.

For example, the vertebrae will be used to determine the ages of both sawfish, the DNA will be sequenced to compare to other sawfish that have been studied throughout Florida, and the length at maturity for females will be fine-tuned based on these data.

How can you help the endangered smalltooth sawfish:

■ Call sawfish hotline: 844-4SAWFISH
■ Email: sawfish@myfwc.com
■ Submit a report through the FWC Reporter app.

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