Target: Rachel Keesling, Mayor of Punta Gorda, Florida
Goal: To make sport fishing safer for threatened and endangered fish
According to a recent article in the Florida Weekly a Punta Gorda resident recently caught and released a sawfish that he had mistakenly caught in his net while fishing one day off the Sanibel shoreline. Although the Punta Gorda resident did the sawfish justice by releasing the creature back into the ocean, many articles claim that the injuries fish sustain from being caught and released are nonetheless fatal.
Sawfish are commonly mistaken as swordfish, but they are quite different. The average Sawfish is about 18 feet long, although they can grow up to 28 feet in length. They weigh on average around 500 pounds but in some cases over 1000 pounds. They are identifiable by their large sword-like rostrums, extending several feet out from their noses.
According to National Geographic the sawfish became the first U.S marine fish to receive protection under the Endangered Species Act because their numbers had been tragically reduced to just 5% of what they once were. An article from ecoRI News stated that the world’s oceans are growing more and more acidic, and that by the end of this century they will be 150% more acidic than they were when the Industrial Revolution first reared its ugly head. This means that the oceans are becoming even more unsafe for endangered species like the sawfish.
These creatures are simply too threatened by changes in climate to leave their fate to chance. Please call on Punta Gorda Mayor Rachel Keesling to push for safer sport fishing practices that protect sawfish and other endangered species.
Dear Mayor Keesling,
As you are no doubt aware there have recently been some accidental catchings of sawfish in your area. As I am sure you are also aware the sawfish is entitled to protection under the Endangered Species Act, which it cannot fully receive if it is threatened by fishermen accidentally catching the fish in their nets.
According to ecoRI News current oceans are becoming more acidic each year. Oceans may soon become unlivable for endangered species like the sawfish which may result in their total demise. This makes conservation efforts like addressing overfishing all the more important.
Eliminating sport fishing may not be an option for your community, given its popularity with tourists and local residents. However you can still make a real difference by educating fishermen about safer methods, and by creating protective sanctuaries for sawfish in areas where they can still be found, such as off the coast of Punta Gorda. Please, use your leadership in the community to help save the sawfish from extinction.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: passamanerie via Flickr