June 23, 2005 |
New Jersey's horseshoe crab harvest, halted two weeks ago on an emergency basis to give officials time to review crab census data, will reopen today. The moratorium was imposed June 10 out of concern for a small shorebird, the red knot, that depends on horseshoe crab eggs for its survival. At this time, "there are no planned actions to close the harvest" again, Karen Hershey, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection, said yesterday. She said officials were still reviewing data and would not be available to discuss them.
June 10, 2005 |
Concerned about the survival of the fragile red knot population, New Jersey officials yesterday issued an emergency order postponing the horseshoe crab harvest season for two weeks. The order gives the shorebirds more time to feed on crab eggs - a critical fuel for the birds, which stop each spring at Delaware Bay during a grueling flight from South America to the Arctic. Their arrival coincides with horseshoe crab spawning, but this spring the density of eggs reached an all-time low, according to researchers.
June 8, 2005 |
Based on a sharp decline in a once-plentiful bird called the red knot - and a drop in the supply of their main food, horseshoe crab eggs - New Jersey and Delaware are poised to set new limits on the crab harvest in the Delaware Bay. Bradley M. Campbell, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, said yesterday that current restrictions on the harvest were apparently not enough to reverse the "alarming" downward trend...
May 13, 2005 |
Believing they are in a race to save a tiny shorebird called the red knot, New Jersey officials have announced new beach closures in South Jersey to give the birds undisturbed time to feast on horseshoe crab eggs. The red knot, which has one of the longest migrations on the planet, stops to refuel at the Delaware Bay each spring, en route from Chile to nesting grounds in the Arctic. While officials have closed some bay beaches in the past, they added new ones to the list this year as red knot counts continued to drop.
May 1, 2005 |
In the next week or so, what could be the final fragment of a once-vast population of shorebirds - the red knots - will touch down on Delaware Bay beaches in search of food. Based on dire news about the bird, New Jersey officials have vowed to do all they can to make sure they get the nutrition they need, including patrolling some beaches to keep people away and stringing wire to keep off gulls. The red knots "have gone from an undeniably majestic display of nature to a tragic remnant," said Larry Niles, head of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Endangered and Nongame Species Program.
August 22, 2004 |
On their last night in the Canadian arctic not long ago, Larry Niles and his research team huddled in tents, buffeted by 50-mile-an-hour winds and a raging summer blizzard. Not far away, at coordinates stored in a GPS unit, tiny shorebirds called red knots hunkered down in their nests. Niles, who heads the endangered-species program for the fish and wildlife division of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, figured that the birds would survive the storm. But for nearly a decade, he hasn't been sure they would survive mankind.
June 6, 2004 |
Larry Niles and an international cadre of shorebird researchers took up residence in a Delaware Bay beach house three weeks ago with a burning question: How many red knots - small, plump shorebirds whose numbers have been plummeting in recent years - would return to the bay this spring? They finally have their answer: not nearly enough. In fact, fewer than ever. After an intensive research effort counting birds, catching them, then weighing, measuring and banding them and collecting feathers for analysis, the mystery of the vanishing red knots has only deepened.
May 9, 2004 |
On a remote coastline not far from the end of the earth, Larry Niles is perched on a hump of dirt, peering through binoculars. In front of him, scrubby grasslands give way to tussocks of marsh, then vast mudflats, dimpled with bird prints. A tidal wash from the Strait of Magellan gurgles in. Against a swath of moonlight, Niles can just make out his gossamer nets, stretched across the flats. This is where he scans, searching for a small, plump, increasingly rare shorebird: the red knot.
June 6, 2003 |
For nearly a decade, scientists worldwide have been watching this marshy corner of the Delaware Bay, predicting an ecological nightmare. A tiny shorebird known as the red knot descends here every spring to feast upon iridescent green horseshoe crab eggs to fuel its long flight to mate in the Arctic. But in a vivid example of the precariousness of the food chain, as the numbers of helmet-shaped crabs have declined, so have the birds. This cold, unforgiving spring, researchers' worst fears have been confirmed: The red knot population on the bay has plummeted to 16,255, about half that of last year.
June 5, 2003 |
NO DOUBT the average Jersey Shore beach-goer has a limited amount of sympathy for horseshoe crabs. At midsummer, their hulking shells litter perfectly good wading areas, with the ones long dead smelling up the joint. But the secret is that the horseshoe crab, ugly and dull though it might seem, is one of the Shore's big life-savers. Endangered bird species may be saved from starvation by eating horseshoe crab eggs. Fishermen enhance their catch with horseshoe crab meat. And potential miracle drugs are tested with a compound from horseshoe crab blood.