• Lisa Smiler shows the rostrum of the sawfish she caught in remote NT early last year. ((Supplied: Felicity Meakins))Source: (Supplied: Felicity Meakins)
The chance discovery of the threatened sawfish in a remote area far inland has led to a new partnership between science and local communities.
Staff Writer

18 Apr 2018 - 9:34 AM  UPDATED 19 Apr 2018 - 9:24 AM

An Indigenous woman made a chance discovery on the end of a fishing line earlier this year when she hooked a rare sawfish in remote NT.

The 2.7 metre long threatened species was initially frightening to the woman who had no idea what she had netted, reported the ABC.

Known as ‘kunpulu’ in Gurindji langue, Wattie Creek located 800 kilometres south of Darwin is home to the sawfish.

Biologist Peter Kyne from Charles Darwin University and Indigenous ranger Philip Jimmy went to the site of where the woman caught the fish.

Mr Kyne said there had been no prior understanding of sawfish being able to come so far inland.

“This is the furthest inland that sawfish have ever been recorded in Australia,” he said.

The fish is extinct in 80 countries where it was once found and now exists in three areas.

Indigenous ranger, Philip Jimmy said as a teenager he saw rock art replicating what he believes is kunpulu at Revolver Creek.

He believes hunters would mark the rock to remind themselves of the fish’s existence in the area.

A linguist has been brought in to work with local Aboriginal people in the area to find out more history of the kunpulu.

The information obtained is then used by the Federal Government to plan the management of the remote habitation.


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