With their remarkable flattened rostrum and distinctive transverse teeth, sawfish is very fascinating. One of the ray families is among the largest fish in the world.
Sawfishes, also known as carpenter sharks, are a family of rays characterized by a long, narrow, flattened rostrum, or nose extension, lined with sharp transverse teeth, arranged in a way that resembles a saw. They are among the largest fish with some species reaching lengths of about 7–7.6 m (23–25 ft).
They are found worldwide in tropical and subtropical regions in coastal marine and brackish estuarine waters, as well as freshwater rivers and lakes. They should not be confused with saw sharks or the extinct sclerorhynchids (order Sclerorhynchiformes) which have a similar appearance, or swordfish which have a similar name but a very different appearance.
Sawfishes are relatively slow breeders and the females give birth to live young. They feed on fish and invertebrates that are detected and captured with the use of their saw. They are generally harmless to humans but can inflict serious injuries with the saw when captured and defending themselves.
Sawfish have been known and hunted for thousands of years, play an important mythological and spiritual role in many societies around the world.
They are hunted for their fins, use of parts as traditional medicine, their teeth and saw. They also face habitat loss. Sawfish have been listed by CITES since 2007, restricting international trade in them and their parts. They are protected in Australia, the United States, several other countries, meaning that sawfish caught by accident have to be released and violations can be punished with hefty fines.