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Horseshoe Crabs

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NEWS
May 25, 2011 | By Peter Mucha, Inquirer Staff Writer
Those creepy, crawling, helmeted, dagger-tailed mega beach bugs known as horseshoe crabs might seem useless to sun worshipers, but on Monday, three Philadelphia men were arrested in the swiping of 132 of them in Ocean City. As tourists start to flip-flop toward the Shore in May and June, so do these 10-legged arthropods, which crowd the shoreline during full- and new-moon high tides at night to spawn. Partly because the countless eggs help feed migrating shorebirds, such as the red knot, harvesting horseshoe crabs is illegal in New Jersey.
NEWS
May 24, 2011 | By Peter Mucha, Inquirer Staff Writer
Those creepy, crawling helmeted, dagger-tailed mega beach bugs known as horseshoe crabs might seem useless to sun worshippers, but on Monday three Philadelphia men were arrested for swiping 132 of them in Ocean City. As tourists start to flip-flop seaward in May and June, so do these 10-legged arthropods, who crowd the shoreline during full and new moon high tides at night to spawn. Partly because the countless eggs help feed migrating shore birds, such as the red knot, harvesting horseshoe crabs is illegal in New Jersey.
NEWS
February 20, 2013
NEW JERSEY state Sen. Jeff Van Drew wants a 5-year-old ban on harvesting horseshoe crabs lifted. Here are the main arguments over the ban:   Pro-ban * The Atlantic red knot, a shorebird recently added to the endangered-species list, depends on horseshoe-crab eggs as a vital food source, a resource that activists say would be depleted should the ban be lifted. * Tens of thousands of bird-watchers routinely flock to the Jersey Shore in early May to watch red-knot migration.
NEWS
May 9, 2002 | By Emilie Lounsberry INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
One by one, Dave Kielmeier tossed the horseshoe crabs into his 17-foot skiff as he walked neck-deep through the backbay waters in search of a thicket of the creatures in the incoming tide of the Delaware Bay. But Tuesday's late-afternoon tide failed to yield an abundance of the brown, helmet-shaped crabs, and Kielmeier, 46, a commercial fisherman for nearly 30 years, was disappointed. "You don't hit a home run every day," he said as the sun faded over a Cumberland County estuary known as a honey spot for the horseshoe crab - an often-overlooked marine animal that has been around since prehistoric times.
NEWS
May 27, 1990 | By William H. Sokolic, Special to The Inquirer
A thick blanket of clouds stretched over the Delaware Bay in the spring dusk. Except for periodic small ripples kissing the shoreline, the bay was still. Along the narrow strip of sand that makes up High's Beach in this section of Cape May County, dozens of gulls cackled, the only break in an otherwise eerie calm. But beneath the bay waters, things were far from calm. An annual event was unfolding that would dramatically change this part of the world over the next six weeks. On the floor of the bay, hundreds of thousands of horseshoe crabs inched closer to the beaches on both the New Jersey and Delaware sides.
NEWS
September 28, 2014 | By Jacqueline L. Urgo, Inquirer Staff Writer
LOWER TOWNSHIP, N.J. - They look like tiny coriander seeds. And 6,000 of them can easily fit into the bottom of a half-dozen buckets filled with seawater. But the young horseshoe crabs released into the Cape May Canal on Friday, as part of the 26th anniversary of National Estuaries Day, are the essentials of a grow-and-release program at the Rutgers Aquaculture Innovation Center here. The project, called the Horseshoe Crab Enhancement Initiative, helps boost the population of the 450-million-year-old species in the Delaware Bay - an East Coast hot spot for horseshoe crabs - and provides a baseline for further study of the ecologically critical and commercially key marine arthropods.
NEWS
November 22, 2006 | By Sandy Bauers INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Horseshoe crabbing on the Delaware Bay is over for at least a year, as the state of Delaware this week joined New Jersey in attempting to save the red knot, a species of shorebird threatened with extinction. The state of Delaware declared a two-year moratorium on Monday, following a similar decision by New Jersey last spring. Delaware's ban takes effect Jan. 1, canceling both of the state's commercial harvests: winter dredging and summer beach-collecting. Bird conservationists cheered what they called a bold and courageous move by the state of Delaware.
NEWS
October 22, 1997 | By James M. O'Neill, INQUIRER TRENTON BUREAU
New Jersey's horseshoe crabs will be protected, after all. Through a court settlement, the state Marine Fisheries Council has agreed to reinstate key portions of a horseshoe-crab harvesting ban that Gov. Whitman had imposed but that the council vetoed last month. The action came after a coalition of environmental groups and the Governor's Office filed suit against the Fisheries Council, obtained a temporary stay against the council's veto, and raised questions in court briefs about the council's constitutional authority to veto a governor's action in the first place.
NEWS
September 27, 1997 | FROM INQUIRER WIRE SERVICES
The state Marine Fisheries Council has rejected proposed regulations to limit the harvest of horseshoe crabs, and offshore trawlers could resume fishing the crabs off the ocean floor tomorrow after a temporary fishing ban expires. The council voted 5-3 Thursday against the state Department of Environmental Protection's plan to permanently stop trawler fishing for horseshoe crabs, and to limit hand catches of the crabs to 16 days a year. That means that crabs can be taken during the peak fall harvest season, when up to 60 percent of the annual catch is netted.
NEWS
March 26, 2008 | By Sandy Bauers INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
An open-ended ban on horseshoe crabbing was signed into law by Gov. Corzine yesterday, a key part of efforts to save a migratory shorebird that eats the crabs' eggs on Delaware Bay beaches. The eggs are a critical food source for red knots, which pause on the bay for refueling every spring during their 10,000-mile trip north. The bird's numbers on the bay have declined from about 95,000 nearly 20 years ago to 12,375 last year. It could go extinct in a few years, say biologists who blame aggressive crab harvesting that began in the 1990s.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
May 4, 2015
The Narrow Edge A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab and an Epic Journey By Deborah Cramer Yale University Press. $28. 304 pp. Deborah Cramer's riveting story of a small shorebird begins with loss: loss of large numbers of birds, of beach and mudflat, of its food, "and a slide toward extinction. " Grim stuff. But in Cramer's able hands, the story of the red knot - a bird inextricably linked with the Delaware Bay and its horseshoe crabs - becomes a scientific page-turner, full of intricacies and astonishment.
NEWS
March 24, 2015 | By Edward Colimore, Inquirer Staff Writer
The fates of a migratory shorebird, horseshoe crabs, and the state's oyster industry have converged at the center of a debate over how each should be accommodated where they come together every spring, in New Jersey tidal flats along the Delaware Bay. Wildlife advocates hope to restore the dwindling population of red knots, small birds that federal authorities listed as a threatened species about three months ago. The bird's round-trip migration of...
NEWS
September 28, 2014 | By Jacqueline L. Urgo, Inquirer Staff Writer
LOWER TOWNSHIP, N.J. - They look like tiny coriander seeds. And 6,000 of them can easily fit into the bottom of a half-dozen buckets filled with seawater. But the young horseshoe crabs released into the Cape May Canal on Friday, as part of the 26th anniversary of National Estuaries Day, are the essentials of a grow-and-release program at the Rutgers Aquaculture Innovation Center here. The project, called the Horseshoe Crab Enhancement Initiative, helps boost the population of the 450-million-year-old species in the Delaware Bay - an East Coast hot spot for horseshoe crabs - and provides a baseline for further study of the ecologically critical and commercially key marine arthropods.
NEWS
October 16, 2013 | By Sandy Bauers, Inquirer Staff Writer
The red knot has never lacked for friends - or in recent years, for mourners. Over the last decade, biologists, birders, and grade-schoolers have lamented the decline of the robin-size shorebird, which makes one of the longest migrations on the planet - from the tip of South America to its nesting grounds in the Arctic, stopping in spring to refuel on horseshoe crab eggs on Delaware Bay. Now, it is getting a federal lift as well. Recently, after years of appeals and petitions, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the red knot as a threatened species.
NEWS
June 1, 2013 | By Sandy Bauers, Inquirer Staff Writer
For more than 15 years, University of Delaware researcher Nancy Targett has been on an odd quest to identify what it is about horseshoe crab scent that makes the crab such alluring bait - for eels and whelks. Alas, she never succeeded. She still doesn't know what precisely constitutes eau de crab. But this week, she and other officials announced a breakthrough that could help solve one of fishery management's knottiest problems - how to lessen the harvest of crabs to save the birds that feed on their eggs, yet still allow watermen who use them as bait to make a living.
NEWS
May 20, 2013 | By Sandy Bauers, Inquirer Staff Writer
A rare shorebird that has defied all the odds was spotted yet again last week on Delaware Bay. He's a small thing - no bigger than a robin, weighing only as much as a stick of butter. But he has one of the longest migrations on the planet. And a lot of renown. Scientists refer to him as B95, after the number on his leg band. But his fans, which apparently are legion, call him the Moonbird because in his lifetime, researchers figure, he has flown the equivalent of the distance to the moon and at least halfway back.
NEWS
April 3, 2013 | By Sandy Bauers, Inquirer Staff Writer
The sand trucks are running. The bulldozers are spreading. A nearly $1 million effort is under way to restore Delaware Bay beaches that are - or were, before Hurricane Sandy ravaged them - crucial turf for spawning horseshoe crabs and migrating shorebirds that depend on crab eggs for refueling. On beaches where there was once ample sand for the crabs to dig into and deposit their eggs, biologists surveying the area after the storm found rugged tufts of sod, which had underlain the sand - part of $50 million in damage to bird habitats affected by Sandy.
NEWS
February 20, 2013
NEW JERSEY state Sen. Jeff Van Drew wants a 5-year-old ban on harvesting horseshoe crabs lifted. Here are the main arguments over the ban:   Pro-ban * The Atlantic red knot, a shorebird recently added to the endangered-species list, depends on horseshoe-crab eggs as a vital food source, a resource that activists say would be depleted should the ban be lifted. * Tens of thousands of bird-watchers routinely flock to the Jersey Shore in early May to watch red-knot migration.
NEWS
February 20, 2013 | BY JASON NARK, Daily News Staff Writer narkj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5916
MIDDLE TOWNSHIP, N.J. - The horseshoe crab was weird long before it had a name, a survivor whose 10 eyes have seen dinosaurs, mass extinctions and mankind's march up the food chain. For humans, these living fossils have proved profitable. First, it was discovered that horseshoe crabs made good bait for catching conch and eel, and later a lucrative use was found for their lifesaving blood. Now the South Jersey shores of the Delaware Bay have become a battleground for a fight over the ancient creature, involving fishermen, environmentalists, politicians, scientists and bird lovers.
NEWS
September 1, 2012 | By Sandy Bauers and Erin Quinn, Inquirer Staff Writers
Marine biologist Chris Wojcik spent months building a 46-foot horseshoe crab replica, meant to function as an artificial reef off the New Jersey coast. The plan Thursday was to sink the anatomically proportionate concrete sculpture - and the 50-foot barge to which it was bolted - three miles east of Mantoloking in Ocean County. The work would rest on the ocean floor, providing an environment for lobsters, fish, and about 150 other species, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection, which gave the operation its approval.
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