Pristis pectinata, has been listed Federally as an Endangered species since April 1, 2003, and was the first elasmobranch to be listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. It has been listed by the State of Florida as Endangered since April, 1992. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is the lead agency responsible for imperiled marine organisms.In the early 1900s large numbers of sawfishes were captured and killed by recreational fishers, who removed the rostra of sawfishes as trophies. Pristis pectinata has never been commercially important, but large numbers of them were incidentally captured in commercial fisheries operations due to the ease with which their rostra became entangled in lines and nets. This is likely the primary cause of the rapid decline observed in the overall population, though habitat loss and degradation as well as pollution effects also played significant roles (NMFS 2000). Current threats to smalltooth sawfishes include: habitat degradation and loss of wetland habitat, eutrophication of coastal waters, point and non-point sources of pollution, increased sedimentation and turbidity, and hydrologic modification for human uses (NMFS 2000). Current conservation efforts are confined to monitoring activities, life history research, raising public awareness, and possession prohibition. A management and recovery plan is under development (Simpfendorfer 2005).
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