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Man pleads guilty to sawing off nose of rare fish

The sawfish are only found in the southeastern U.S., primarily off the southwest coast of Florida.
File photo of a a critically endangered small tooth sawfish. Measuring over 1.5 metres in length, sawfish have adapted to live in both salt and fresh water, while their long saw-like rostrum (nose) has evolved to expertly forage for food under the sandy ocean floor.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — A man has pleaded guilty to killing an endangered fish unique to Florida waters whose extended nose is lined with teeth that resemble a saw.

Federal prosecutors say Chad Ponce of Jacksonville faces a year in prison and a $50,000 fine when he is sentenced for killing the sawfish, which is listed as an endangered species. A sentencing date hasn't been set yet.

The sawfish are only found in the southeastern U.S., primarily off the southwest coast of Florida.

Sawfish are generally harmless to humans, although they can inflict serious injury with their saw-like noses if threatened. Some grow as large as 17-feet.

Prosecutors say Ponce removed the extended nose of a sawfish last year using a power saw while fishing in a boat off the coast of Ponte Verde.

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