Malak Malak Sawfish Project

Making art, videos, signs and steps to save sawfish in Australia's northern rivers

 Australia’s northern rivers are a last remaining stronghold for the threatened Largetooth Sawfish (Pristis pristis), but even in this relatively pristine part of the world sawfish populations are severely depleted. Conserving the species here may be its only hope for survival, so people who use the area need to know how they can help.

A research project dedicated to this task has produced education materials including videos, signage and relocation protocols under the guidance of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA). The Marine Biodiversity Hub project is led by Dr Peter Kyne of Charles Darwin University Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods.

Tyemirerriny: looking after Daly River Sawfish video

Tyemirerriny is the Malak Malak name for the Largetooth Sawfish. The Tyemirerriny video features rangers Amos Shields, Aaron Green and Theresa Lemon. They talk about their interest in sawfish, and their wish to learn more about caring for sawfish as part of looking after the future of their country. They say that every animal means something in the ecosystem and is there for a reason.

Save a Sawfish animated video

The second video, Save a Sawfish, is an animation that shows how sawfish should be released after being accidentally caught on a line or in a net. It uses an animated sawfish decorated with artwork from a painting commissioned from Norman Wilfred, and explains safe handling, hook removal, removal from a throw net, and safe return to the water. There are three versions of the video: importantly, a version narrated by Grant Thompson in Kriol, a language of the Roper Gulf region, and two English versions narrated by Dan Hartney and Angelina Joshua. Angelina and Grant work for the Ngukurr Language Centre.

For more information about this Project visit the Marine Biodiversity Hub National Environmental Science Programme