Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Delaware announces horseshoe crab banPosted by the Asbury Park Press on 11/25/06BY KIRK MOORETOMS RIVER BUREAUAs state officials and environmental activists prepared to defend NewJersey's ban on horseshoe crab harvesting in court, Delaware this weekannounced it too will halt the taking of crabs for commercial fishing bait.The Delaware moratorium means that spring 2007 could see a total shutdown ofthe Delaware Bay crab fishery - a long-sought goal of environmental groups,who contend that even a sharply reduced crab catch is not leaving enoughcrab eggs to feed migrating shorebirds."There's still an outstanding question as to what's a horseshoe crab harvestthat's sustainable and will still protect the birds," said Tim Dillingham ofthe American Littoral Society, one of the groups supporting the state bans."We've always said, if you don't understand the impact of taking hundreds ofthousands of crabs out of the population, you shouldn't be doing it."Commercial fishermen use frozen, cut-up horseshoe crabs for bait in trapsthat catch eels and whelks, a type of marine snail they call conchs. The NewJersey moratorium imposed early this year led to a sharp jump in bait pricesand forced watermen to drive as far as Virginia and southern New England tobuy crabs.