500 Pound Sawfish Catch In Flordia Brings Attention To Endangered Species

Can you imagine reeling in a 500 pound and 11 foot catch? That’s the story some Floridian high schools students came back to school telling after Memorial weekend. The students caught it all on video and snapped some shots before letting the catch go. It makes them legends beyond their school – it’s a record find for the Boynton area where they were fishing.

The fish, or shark, was the illusive carpenter fish. It’s a fish better known as the sawfish. Since it’s considered an endangered species, the students are praised for doing the smart thing and releasing their prize after the unexpected catch. It’s exciting to see these sharks, or any endangered species, but experts and advocates urge the public not to endanger these animals for the sake of social media.

Quick Sawfish facts:

Sawfish reach maturity at 10 years, usually living for 20 to 30 years. They average 18 feet in the ocean and can grow up to 28 feet. These fish are more closely related to rays than to sharks. The ‘saw’ of a sawfish has small pores able to detect electric fields produced by prey. This super sense is common to sharks and rays. Still awesome. The silhouette of the species is well known by anyone who visited the aquarium as a kid, its unusual nose making it an instant favorite for many. Sawfish became an endangered by accident. The sword-like nose gets caught in nets, dragging it up with the catch or lethally entangling it. Also, development along beach fronts has contributed to the sawfish population decline – along with the decline of many other species. In some cultures, the sawfish might be hunted for it’s sword nose, but those cultures are few and far between.

One of the high school students, Dustin Richter, spoke about the memorable Memorial weekend. “I’ve been fishing all my life and I’ve never came up on any type of shark at all,” he told CBS 12. “This is my first time shark fishing and we happen to hook up on the catch of a lifetime.” A lucky tooth is kept as a keepsake, left behind after the struggle. Losing teeth is natural for the shark; it’ll quickly be replaced by the next row. Everyone is excited about the fish tale and experts are glad to hear neither fish or human were hurt.

A trend in fishing has people casting their line while floating leisurely in a tube. Imagine if that’d been the case with this 500 pounder! One man recalled his dizzying battle with a 169 pound catfish.

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