A 15-feet long giant female large-tooth sawfish — a critically endangered species — was caught and sold by a fisherman near Thatta on Saturday, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said on Tuesday.

A press release from the organisation said that a shrimp trawler, Al Zahid Ali, caught the gigantic sawfish — locally known as Liara, in its net near Turchan and Khajar creeks.

"Due to the large size and heavy weight of the animal, fishermen used a crane to heave it on board," it added.

The sawfish, weighing approximately 1,320kg, was offloaded at Ibrahim Hyderi and auctioned on Saturday.

Sawfish are one of the rarest group of marine animals whose population is globally threatened with extinction due to over-fishing. Three species of sawfish, namely the Knife-tooth (Anoxypristis cuspidatus), the Large-tooth (Pristis pristis) and the Large-comb (Pristis zijsron) have been sighted in Pakistan.

There was an abundance of sawfish in Pakistan prior to the 1980s, but because of the vulnerability of this specie, specially the presence of a large rostra (saw) in front of their head, its population has since rapidly collapsed in Pakistan.