The seven varieties of sawfish, including four from India, have been listed as critically endangered on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They are also considered the most threatened marine fish.
The distinctive feature of the fish is its saw-like rostrum, a modified tooth-like structure called denticles. With its rostrum, the fish detects the movement of prey on the ocean floor. They spring from the bottom and slash the prey with the saw. The fish are targeted for their rostrum, fins and liver oil.
In India, the sawfish has been brought under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act. The species available in Indian waters include Anoxypristis cuspidata (Valu sravu in Malayalam), Pristis zijsron (Vella sorrah in Tamil), Pristis microdon (Komben sravu in Malayalam) and Pristis pectinata.