by Tonya Wiley, Havenworth Coastal Conservation

7th Annual International Sawfish Day is October 17, 2023 

International Sawfish Day was established as a collaboration between the Sawfish Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria studbook program, the Sawfish Conservation Society, and research and conservation organizations around the world to highlight the endangered sawfish species. The sawfishes are some of the most imperiled elasmobranchs (sharks, rays, and skates), with all five species assessed as Critically Endangered or Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. International Sawfish Day (ISD) is an annual event, held every October 17th, to educate the public about the biology and ecology of these spectacular rays, to highlight the threats they continue to face, to focus on current research and management efforts to safeguard their future, and to inform people how they can contribute to the conservation and recovery of sawfishes where they live.

In 2023, the seventh International Sawfish Day will be celebrated with events at institutions and organizations around the globe and online.  Participating aquariums, museums, zoos, schools, conservation agencies, and research groups hold celebrations, share messages and images on social media, and help spread the word about sawfish.  Social media posts using the hashtag #InternationalSawfishDay and interactive events reach hundreds of thousands of people in the weeks surrounding each October 17 celebration.  In addition to the excitement generated for sawfish protection and conservation, ISD also raises funds for sawfish field research programs and helps strengthen the collaborative relationships between the public aquarium community and research and field conservation organizations.  The Association of Zoos and Aquariums coordinates the fundraiser to contribute to important sawfish research and conservation efforts.  Information about events and the fundraiser can be found at

You can participate in ISD by visiting a sawfish outreach event in your community, creating your own celebration, or sharing information about sawfish and #InternationalSawfishDay online.  A variety of resources are available to increase your knowledge about sawfish, help you celebrate, or host your own event.  You can print posters, brochures, and handouts and discover fun sawfish games and craft ideas.  You can also buy an official International Sawfish Day t-shirt, created by the Sawfish Conservation Society, to proudly wear on October 17 (and any day). The 2023 ISD t-shirt features a colorful depiction of the variety of rostrum shapes from the five sawfish species. Information about scheduled events, the 2023 ISD t-shirt, and other ISD resources can be found at and at the Sawfish Conservation Society public Facebook group at