The Deep, Hull Maritime Museum and the Hull and East Riding Museum have joined forces to contribute to a global study for sawfish conservation alongside researchers from all over the world. They aim to explore the differences between sawfish species as well as between the current and historic genetic diversity of sawfishes to generate a better understanding of these animals.
The data collected for the aptly named See-A-Saw campaign is being submitted directly to the Sawfish Conservation Society and will not only benefit conservation oriented studies, but after analysis, will also provide valuable information to the museums on these artefacts. Sawfish have limited protection under regional government legislations and were historically killed for their long tooth-lined rostrum, often for Chinese traditional medicine and trophies. International trade is now prohibited as a number of species are listed under Appendix I of CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species). Dried rostra and specimens however are still a valued educational tool in natural history and are commonly displayed or used in museum and zoological learning.
The Sawfish Conservation Society aims to generate a wider awareness of all sawfish species and their threats as well as providing a valuable portal for researchers, fishers, aquarists and other marine stake holders to communicate and maximise research and conservation efforts. In Hull alone, the team have already unearthed 13 rostra, which is beleived to stem from the city's rich maritime history. but we would encourage everyone to report any rostrum they may have.