Sawfishes are large rays historically found in over 70 tropical and sub-tropical countries. Due to incidental and directed capture in fisheries and loss of critical habitats, sawfish populations have declined dramatically in the last 2-3 decades. Both species encountered in Panama are now Critically Endangered to extinction.
Since 2016 MarAlliance has been carrying out a national assessment of sawfish in Panama to fill gaps in our knowledge of their historical and current populations. Through social surveys with artisanal fishers, sawfish rostra sampling, and the collection of water samples for environmental DNA analysis, we now have a better understanding of the status of sawfish in Panama and priorities for their conservation.