National Fisherman

Efforts to limit its harvest — in order to save a bird — have rippled through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the state legislature and a multi-state fisheries commission.

Now, the ripples have extended to Asia.

Officials have discovered that Asian horseshoe crabs have been imported to substitute for the local species. They were horrified, partly because of the possibility that pathogens and invasive species would wind up coming in with the crabs, even if the crabs were dead.

Earlier today, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission passed a resolution to ban the import and use of Asian horseshoe crabs as bait.

How did we get to this?

Shaped like a helmet with spindly legs, the crab comes ashore on the beaches of Delaware Bay every spring to lay its green eggs in the sand.

That just happens to be the time when migratory shorebirds are arriving from half a world away, famished and in need of refueling before they continue to their Arctic breeding grounds.

When one bird in particular, the red knot, began to show declines, and scientists made the case that those declines were linked to increased harvest of the crabs, regulators stepped in.

The crabs weren't being harvested because they were good food for humans. They were being harvested because they were good bait for whelks and eels, which are food delicacies in the Asian market. Most of the whelks and eels caught are sent to Asia, although Italians and Asians in this country also eat them.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission put limits on the horseshoe crab harvest, and New Jersey went the regulators one better, instituting a moratorium.

At the time, some warned this would create pressure on horseshoe crabs in neighboring states. Apparently, that happened.

Read the full story at the Philadelphia Enquirer>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

Try a FREE issue of National Fisherman

Fill out this order form, If you like the magazine, get the rest of the year for just $14.95 (12 issues in all). If not, simply write cancel on the bill, return it, and owe nothing.

First Name
Last Name
U.S. Canada Other

Postal/ Zip Code
© 2015 Diversified Business Communications
Diversified Business Communications