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Horseshoe Crab

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NEWS
BY A SUN STAFF WRITER | February 6, 2001
WASHINGTON - The horseshoe crab sanctuary off Delaware Bay, announced with great fanfare in August and tied up in the federal rule-making process since then, will go into effect March 7, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced yesterday. The sanctuary, which covers about 1,500 square miles of federal waters from south of Pecks Beach, N.J., to just north of Ocean City, is part of a management plan to protect the ancient creatures, whose numbers have declined in recent years. Horseshoe crabs, which predate dinosaurs, are valued as bait in conch and eel fisheries and for pharmaceutical tests.
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FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | May 1, 2012
With another spawning season about to begin, horseshoe crabs appear to be hanging on in Maryland's coastal bays, despite limited habitat for their annual reproductive reunion. Volunteers tallied 23,105 crabs last year, roughly the same number counted in 2010, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program reports. The annual horseshoe crab spawning congregation on the Delaware shore is closely watched, because the ancient sea animals' eggs provide food for shorebirds, particularly red knots , which stop over there to rest and refuel during an epic 9,000-mile migration north.
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NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel and Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writer | June 13, 1995
The thermometer read 60 degrees, but things were smoldering on Beverly-Triton Beach -- at least for the horseshoe crabs.In their world, this bit of the Mayo Peninsula in Anne Arundel County was the hottest spot in the Chesapeake Bay. And with a full moon and high tide, yesterday's predawn hours should have seen the annual peak for horseshoe procreation.But only 73 of the prehistoric creatures were found at the water's edge at 5:30 a.m. Biologists from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources counted 597 horse shoe crabs last year.
NEWS
June 27, 2011
Would a horseshoe crab harvest ban save the red knot? As scientists who have collectively studied red knots, our response is an unequivocal yes. Horseshoe crab eggs are critical to the red knot's ability to complete their spring migration and reproduce in the Canadian Arctic. Without ample numbers of breeding crabs laying eggs on Delaware Bay beaches, red knots will continue to decline. For years we hoped that the modest reductions of horseshoe crab harvests would lead to increases in egg densities, especially after New Jersey's 2006 moratorium.
NEWS
By KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE | October 23, 1997
TRENTON, N.J. - 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. Christine Todd Whitman had imposed but that the council vetoed in September.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.
NEWS
By Joel McCord and Joel McCord,SUN STAFF | October 19, 2000
A week before a federal moratorium would have closed its lucrative horseshoe crab fishery, Virginia has agreed to slash its harvest quota, provided the agency that regulates East Coast commercial fishing allows states to transfer quotas. The agreement in the long-simmering dispute over the ancient creatures that spawn on Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean beaches occurred Tuesday during a meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in Clearwater, Fla. Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey slashed their harvests by 75 percent as reports of dwindling horseshoe crab populations spread over the past two years.
NEWS
May 12, 2000
The National Marine Fisheries Service has proposed banning fishing for horseshoe crabs in federal waters off the mouth of Delaware Bay in an attempt to protect the valuable species. The ban is part of a plan to manage fishing for the helmet-shaped creatures, which was adopted in April by the multistate agency that regulates East Coast commercial fishing. Fisheries officials said it is not a response to Delaware Gov. Thomas R. Carper's written request last week for an immediate moratorium on harvesting horseshoe crabs within 30 miles of the mouth of Delaware Bay. "We've been working with the Atlantic State's Marine Fisheries Commission and we're looking for public input," said Gordon Helm, a fisheries service spokesman.
NEWS
By Joel McCord and Joel McCord,SUN STAFF | June 9, 2000
The multistate agency that regulates East Coast commercial fishing moved yesterday to shut down Virginia's lucrative horseshoe crab fishery because state officials refuse to comply with a plan to cut the harvest of the creatures by 25 percent. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, made up of states from Maine to Florida, found Virginia to be out of compliance with the plan and recommended that William B. Daley, U.S. secretary of commerce, suspend operations in the fishery. Daley could act within 30 days.
NEWS
By Heather Dewar and Heather Dewar,SUN STAFF | March 31, 1998
The horseshoe crab has outlasted the dinosaurs -- but it probably won't outlast the international fishing trade without government help.So said Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening yesterday, announcing new protections for the homely, hard-hatted creature that has endured for nearly 360 million years. In the process of preserving the crab, Maryland officials also hope to protect the millions of shorebirds that flock to mid-Atlantic beaches in late spring to feast on the crabs' tiny eggs, along with the growing tourist trade in crab- and bird-watchers.
NEWS
By Rafael Alvarez and Rafael Alvarez,SUN STAFF | May 5, 2000
The governor of Delaware called on the National Marine Fisheries Service yesterday to place an immediate moratorium on the harvesting of horseshoe crabs within 30 miles of the mouth of the Delaware Bay. The request by Gov. Thomas R. Carper is the latest move in an East Coast battle over the strange and valuable creatures, which existed 100 million years before the dinosaurs and provide food for migrating shorebirds, bait for the growing conch and eel...
NEWS
June 20, 2011
It is difficult not to be moved by the plight of the red knot, the small shorebird that migrates 9,300 miles annually from South America all the way to the Canadian Arctic, one of the longest such journeys of any bird on the planet. Their numbers have dwindled to an alarming level. Critical to the species' survival is what happens in Maryland's backyard. The red knots make a stopover in Delaware Bay each spring (usually peaking around Memorial Day weekend) to feast on eggs laid by horseshoe crabs, which appear on coastal beaches at just the right time to spawn.
NEWS
By Timothy B. Wheeler and Timothy B. Wheeler,tim.wheeler@baltsun.com | March 18, 2009
Turning aside calls for a ban on the commercial harvest of horseshoe crabs, Maryland officials are imposing a new limit on the catch in an attempt to help shorebirds that migrate up the Atlantic coast in spring. Effective April 1, fishermen will be required to catch two male horseshoe crabs for every female they keep, the Department of Natural Resources said yesterday. The rule is designed to increase the availability of horseshoe crab eggs on mid-Atlantic beaches when migratory shorebirds arrive in May and June.
NEWS
By Charles D. Duncan | August 5, 2008
With the Summer Olympics almost upon us, it seems appropriate to take special note of an ultra-marathon champion that seldom gets the attention it deserves. The event is seemingly impossible: a journey from Tierra del Fuego to the Canadian Arctic and back, 9,300 miles each way, in nonstop stages that last days without food or water. And like some nightmare of Roman gladiators, if you fail, you die. But there's a catch: The participants can fly. These ultra-marathoners are migratory red knots, shorebirds not much more than half the weight of a pigeon.
NEWS
By Rona Kobell and Rona Kobell,Sun Reporter | June 30, 2007
SLAUGHTER BEACH, DEL. -- This time of year, the horseshoe crabs practically have the place to themselves. With only a sunbather and a smattering of greenhead flies in the distance, the spiderlike creatures mate undisturbed on the sandy shores. But just a few miles away sits what the crab's protectors consider a major threat to a species that is older than dinosaurs - Charlie Auman, a waterman who has spent much of his adult life catching horseshoe crabs and selling them for bait. For the past decade, Delaware officials have been pushing to protect the crabs, which swim into the bay each spring from the ocean and mate by the millions on its shores.
FEATURES
By John Woestendiek and John Woestendiek,Sun Reporter | August 31, 2006
SLAUGHTER BEACH, Del.-- --Of all the strange creatures at the beach - jellyfish floating like ghosts in the waves, blood-sucking deer flies searching the sand for human flesh, gold chain-wearing middle-aged men prowling the nightclubs - none has creeped out as many vacationers as this one. With an appearance many find hideous, a personality that's hard to locate and a tendency to be dead or dying when it does come ashore, it's no wonder this decidedly uncuddly...
NEWS
By CANDUS THOMPSON and CANDUS THOMPSON,SUN REPORTER | June 18, 2006
It is one of those exquisitely choreographed moments in nature: A small bird on its way from the bottom of the world to its breeding ground at the top encounters its nutritional lifeline as it lands on sandy beaches along the Delaware Bay. Red knots arrive from South America, exhausted and emaciated. Horseshoe crabs swim from sea to shore, following their prehistoric instinct to procreate. They get together each spring for their annual date, a two-week springtime feast and orgy that has been performed longer than humans have been recording such things.
NEWS
By Douglas A. Campbell and Douglas A. Campbell,KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE | August 10, 1997
TRENTON, N.J. - A "handful" of commercial fishermen, profiting from a rising demand for Delaware Bay horseshoe crabs, should be thwarted by the rest of New Jersey's commercial fishing industry, a group of scientists and environmentalists says.At stake are not only the crabs but migratory shorebirds that feed on crab eggs and the tourism industry that earns millions a year from visiting bird-watchers, they said.In a Statehouse news conference a few doors from Gov. Christine Todd Whitman's office, a Rutgers University ornithologist, a Rutgers marine biologist, an environmental lobbyist and the director of the New Jersey Audubon Society called on the Marine Fisheries Council to back the governor's ban on most crab harvesting.
NEWS
By Joel McCord and Joel McCord,SUN STAFF | April 8, 2000
A multistate agency that regulates East Coast commercial fishing has found Virginia is out of compliance with an order to cut its state's harvest of horseshoe crabs, a ruling that could lead to federal orders to shut down Virginia's horseshoe crab industry. Virginia's fisheries managers have defied a 25 percent cut ordered by a management board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The state's refusal to lower its catch could wipe out conservation efforts in Maryland, New Jersey and other coastal states that have agreed to reduce their harvests, fisheries officials said yesterday.
NEWS
By Rona Kobell and Rona Kobell,SUN STAFF | June 12, 2005
BOWERS BEACH, Del. - In the pitch-black night of a deserted beach, J.R. Futcher shines her flashlight on the unsuspecting lovers. She's interrupting a private moment. But the horseshoe crabs appear not to notice. Several helmet-headed males cluster around one plump female, forming a mating circle that's kicking up quite a froth of sand. Futcher lays a one-meter-square plastic grid atop the crabs, does a quick head count and repeats the process. "Twelve males, one female!" Futcher calls out. The annual mating dance of the horseshoe - a prehistoric creature that is more spider than crab - has again arrived on the shores of the First State, where it has perplexed and fascinated scientists for decades.
NEWS
By Stevenson Swanson and Stevenson Swanson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | July 14, 2002
SOUTH BOWERS, Del. - In the pitch-darkness of a new-moon night, the couples on the beach are clinched in a tight embrace worthy of the wave-washed love scene in From Here to Eternity. Bristling with claws and a spiny tail, these amorous pairs of horseshoe crabs are no Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr, that movie's passionate pair, yet they are obeying their eternal instincts, burying eggs in the sand as their ancestors did before the age of the dinosaurs. But the number of crabs that scuttle out of Delaware Bay to spawn at this time of year has been dropping for more than a decade, raising troubling questions about the future of an extraordinary species that has become increasingly important to medicine as the source of a bacteria-detecting chemical.
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