As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The crab and the bird: lifting moratorium on horseshoe crabs could affect migratory red knot

A small bird makes an epic flight from Antarctic to Arctic, nearly pole-to-pole, every year.

Along the way, the red knot makes a migratory pit stop in the Delaware Bay, where it eats thousands of eggs from a creature that couldn’t be more different from it: the ancient, helmeted horseshoe crab.

For nearly eight years, the state has protected the horseshoe crabs from fishermen in the hope it would boost the bird’s dwindling numbers worldwide. But that could soon change.

A moratorium protecting horseshoe crabs along New Jersey’s shoreline could soon be lifted, as proposed in a state Assembly bill that’s before a committee today in Trenton.

Environmentalists say lifting the moratorium would up-end a delicate balance in the food chain that’s just beginning to stabilize, after years of over-fishing. The seafood industry says allowing collection of the crabs again would give certain parts of the fishing industry a desperately needed source of bait.

The ongoing ban would end with passage of the bill sponsored by Assemblyman Nelson Albano (D - Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland). The measure is before the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee this afternoon.

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