Leftover traps roped a rare animal’s mouth shut, likely killing it

An endangered sawfish — 12 feet long and with an impressive saw-like “snout” — has likely died after becoming entrapped in fishing ropes left behind in Florida waters. Palmer ropes are frequently used in crab traps, and unfortunately a section of this cord wrapped itself around the sawfish’s mouth, essentially locking it shut. Without being able to open its mouth and hunt for food, this rare creature will likely die a sad and withering death.

Two kind fishermen discovered the desperate creature and risked their own safety to try and remove the rope, but were unable to successfully free the animal. In the end, they had no choice but to release it back into the waters. As an endangered species, sawfish are technically protected by law in Florida, but that doesn’t mean they’re actually kept safe from the many deadly objects lodged in Florida waters, including fishing equipment, plastic debris, and pollution. Tell Florida state officials to improve regulations of crab traps and other fishing methods to ensure sawfish are truly safe!

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