World Wide Fund for Nature – Malaysia (WWF-Malaysia) is saddened by the 300kg-sawfish caught off Pulau Bruit, stating that the sawfish is a critically endangered species in the world.
Their distinctive saw-like snouts are sold as souvenirs, curios, and ceremonial weapons, while other body parts such as skin, liver oil and bile are used in traditional medicines.
The incident in Pulau Bruit, which WWF-Malaysia believes was unintentional, could have been avoided if fishermen are aware that the species is listed in the IUCN Red List, said conservation director Dr Sundari Ramakrishna.
However, she said, fishermen cannot continue to plea innocent all the time, in a statement today.
“They need to play their part in conservation by making it their business to fish sustainably, to know which species are common and rare, and make responsible choices by releasing live catch back into the sea.”
“WWF-Malaysia hoped that the incident in Pulau Bruit would serve as a lesson to all and moved the people from all walks of life to be more discerning when making their purchases for seafood,” she said.
When public are better informed and understand the impacts of our seafood choices, they will help shift our fisheries towards a more sustainable direction, added Dr Sundari.