Delaware Bay female horseshoe crabs spared from commercial harvest for another year

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has spared female horseshoe crabs from commercial harvest for another year — a move that will help the red knot, a migratory bird listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Red knots travel 9,000 miles each year from South America to the Arctic, making a stop at the Delaware Bay to rest and refuel on the crab’s eggs.

On Monday, the fisheries commission, which coordinates the conservation and management of fish species on the Atlantic Coast, voted to continue permitting male-only commercial harvest of horseshoe crabs for 2024.

The vote is applauded by environmentalists who have advocated for the protection of horseshoe crabs, which are harvested and used as bait.

“This remains an imperiled ecosystem,” said Ben Levitan, senior attorney for Earthjustice. “The red knots need protection, and it’s definitely the right thing to not harvest female horseshoe crabs for bait next year.”

  • October 17, 2023
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