sawfish detective

In Bangladesh, a young woman wakes early, heading to the coast with a single-minded mission. She spends her days scouring fish markets in the hope of finding a remarkable species

programme information


1 x 15'

Production Company

WaterBear Network





Episode Information

Alifa Haque is hunting for largetooth sawfish, the most endangered of all species. In a male-dominated industry, for this investigation she dons a headscarf, to ensure she gains the respect of the market sellers. Once a landing is revealed, a chain reaction occurs, a photo, the details of the landing site, the contact of the fisherman. Bingo. Counter-intuitively, finding a dead sawfish in the market is a huge win for her - it’s an indication that the fish still exists in the wild. In fact, Alifa has revealed a pocket of largetooth sawfish in the Bay of Bengal. This species has been a sorry tale in recent years, disappearing beyond hope in many regions. Once abundant along beaches and at fish landing sites, sawfishes were the most common, yet unnoticed, marine megafauna of Bangladesh. Within just three decades they have become the rarest. This discovery in Bangladesh is a huge breakthrough. Along with Dr Ruth Leeney, through Alifa’s investigation work, these inspiring women are giving these weird and wonderful creatures a chance of survival. With more conscious fishermen sawfishes have a greater chance of survival. And it’s proof that in a male-dominated industry, a network of women supporting each other is vital.

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