Wednesday, September 13, 2006

USFWS Declines to List Red Knot

Several states and conservation organizations had petitioned the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Red Knot (Calidris canuta) as an endangered species. The USFWS decided to designate the red knot as a candidate species but not to list it as endangered or threatened, so that red knots will not receive federal protections. In recent years red knots have undergone a drastic decline. From 2005 to 2006, counts along the Delaware Bay have shown a decline from 15,345 birds to 13,445. Other counts over a longer time frame from other locations have shown similar results. The decline is at least partly linked to overfishing of horseshoe crabs, which became very popular for bait fishing in the 1990s. Individual states and conservation organizations will continue to work towards restoring the population, but will not have federal help.