10 Dec 2020
Sawfish monitoring in Far North Queensland
Cape York Natural Resource Management is working in partnership with Sharks and Rays Australia (SARA) to support the delivery of a three-year Sawfish Monitoring in Far north Queensland project. This project is being led by Dr Barbara Wueringer from Sharks and Rays Australia to conduct training that will provide Indigenous groups with the skills to monitor and collate sawfish population data. The project will also build community capacity to protect these endangered species.
Cape York is home to three Sawfish species, the largetooth sawfish, green sawfish, and the dwarf/Queensland sawfish, which are currently listed as vulnerable in Northern Australia. In some areas, sawfish are of cultural significance to Aboriginal people and communities. Some of the risks posed to sawfish on Cape York are habitat change, professional fishing (bycatch), recreational fishing activities, and their 'saws' being kept for souvenirs. Protecting these species is significant as all five species of sawfish are listed as vulnerable under the EPBC act.
This project will see that population data is collated to increase the information available about sawfish in Cape York. Sawfish monitoring will be carried out with Traditional Owners in Kowanyama along the Mitchell River, and in Lakefield Rinyirru National Park. The project aims to reduce impacts and threats to sawfish, and to improve community capacity and awareness in relation to sawfish conservation in Cape York.