Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Delaware's Horseshoe Crab Issue

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is reconsidering its moratorium on horseshoe crab harvests. A earlier moratorium was struck down by a state judge who felt that the DNREC relied too much on scientific evidence and took insufficient account of business concerns.

The issue is important for birders because the excessive harvests of horseshoe crabs have led to the precipitous decline of the red knot population. Red knots migrate every year from the Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic Circle, and back. Delaware Bay is a crucial stopover where knots feed on horseshoe crab eggs in order to have the energy to reach the Arctic and breed.

Audubon has prepared an online petition on the subject. Written comments are due by 4:30 pm on September 30. You need not be a Delaware resident to submit comments, but it would be good for Delaware's government to hear from its constituents.