A large smalltooth sawfish — a federally protected species — was found dead Tuesday afternoon near a popular boating spot in the Lower Keys, police said.
The 12-foot female sawfish was taken to a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission lab in Port Charlotte and necropsy results are pending, said Melody Kilborn, FWC’s southwest region spokeswoman, on Thursday.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said the fish was found dead at about 2 p.m. near Marvin Key. The sheriff’s office estimated its weight at between 400 to 500 pounds.
It was unclear Wednesday what caused the fish’s death, said Office Bobby Dube, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“We do not have that information,” Dube said. “Hopefully, we’ll know a little bit more after the necropsy.”
Lower Keys Marine Deputy Ed Swogger assisted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in recovering the fish.
The dead sawfish was loaded onto a sheriff’s office patrol boat and was later transported by the lab in Port Charlotte, said sheriff’s office spokesman Adam Linhardt.
The fish has been listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act since 2003, according to FWC’s website. Under the ESA, it is illegal to catch, harm, harass or kill one.
Large sawfish found dead near Marvin Key An 11-foot, female sawfish weighing between 400 and 500 pounds found dead...
Correction: An earlier version of this story said FWC had estimated the sawfish’s weight. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office did the estimation.