BASS BARN banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Action urged to help endangered shorebird

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Availability of horseshoe crabs may affect red knot population
By LAWRENCE HAJNA
Courier-Post Staff
TRENTON


The state's top environmental official on Tuesday said emergency actions appear needed to protect red knots, a little shorebird that environmentalists and researchers say is on a fast-track toward extinction.

"I think the situation is very serious," Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell said. "We've seen a stunning decline in red knot numbers. With or without additional measures, I think there is a high likelihood of extinction of red knots."

Earlier, eight environmental groups called on New Jersey and Delaware to better protect a primary source of food for the little shorebird during its epic migration.

The groups - including the New Jersey Audubon Society, Sierra Club and American Littoral Society - want the states to issue a moratorium on the harvesting of horseshoe crabs. A seasonal ban on harvesting expired Tuesday.

The helmet-shaped creature lays fat-rich eggs that nourish red knots and other shorebirds that migrate through the Delaware Bay region every spring. Environmentalists argue years of overharvesting of horseshoe crabs for bait has thrown off the bay's ecological balance.

"This is the most endangered shorebird in the world. It's experiencing the steepest decline in the world," the New Jersey Audubon Society's Eric Stiles said of the red knot during a State House news conference.

"This isn't rocket science. You deprive a species of its food, it's going to starve," he said.

Campbell said he had been in contact with Delaware officials throughout the day to come up with plan that is scientifically justified and could withstand legal challenges.ADVERTISEMENT - CLICK TO ENLARGE OR VISIT WEBSITE

Featured Advertisers All Shore Credit Care Sterling Heating and Air Conditioning Sams Bar and Grille Advertise with us!




The commissioner asked watermen to "exercise restraint" in harvesting horseshoe crabs until the states come up with a joint plan but stopped short of saying the states are ready to enact a full harvest ban.

Alternatives could include a ban on harvesting females or a temporary ban while additional scientific information is collected, Campbell said.

Greg Patterson, a spokesman for Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, said the state was reviewing a letter from the groups. "We're taking this very seriously," he said. "We're exploring some options."

Researchers say the red knot could be extinct by 2010. State surveys show that red knots coming through the bay region numbered 15,300 this spring, compared with 43,145 in 2000 - a 65 percent decline.

This year's number is a slight improvement over the 13,315 red knots counted last year. About 150,000 red knots were migrating through the region in the late 1980s.

Scot Mackey, spokesman for the Garden State Seafood Association, argues that something else along the migration route must be harming the red knot population because years of tough conservation measures in the region seem to be having no positive impact, including a provision requiring only hand harvesting.

He said about 30 subsistence fishermen in New Jersey currently harvest horseshoe crabs for bait in eel and conch fisheries.

Contacted after the news conference, Marty Buzas, a 36-year-old fisherman from Wildwood, argued environmental groups and researchers are twisting science to attain their policy objectives.

He argues concentrations of spawning horseshoe crabs tend to move to different beaches from year to year, although researchers concentrate their efforts on the same beaches every year.

"I think it's bogus, a refusal to acknowledge science," Buzas said. "They buffalo the general public into believing there is a lack of horseshoe crabs."

Buzas was forced to switch from conch fishing to other types of fishing because the cost of horseshoe crabs soared when the state enacted a moratorium followed by harvest restrictions in the 1990s.

ON THE WEB
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,940 Posts
I was at the last NJMFC meeting and it was pretty clear that the recent decline was due to poor weather conditions up in the arctic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Egghead I understood it that way as well. Seems like Larry just keep conning the DEP and the NJ Audubon society.

The other point that the public isn't being told is that there is way more then 30 people being effected by this. Yes there are 30 permit holders in NJ but how many pot fishermen both conch and minnows/eels then the processors.

I just wish they would use sciences like it is intended to be used. There are way too many contradictions to believe anything Larry Niles says. From here on out I will not address him as a doctor. If he is a doctor then he lied on his exams.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
If the red knot population is migrating through the region, why not check out possible explanations at their destination or origin. The report says nothing of them nesting in our region...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,669 Posts
I think the real question is.. If the red knot population tanks, what is the downside?

Does the red knot provide sustinence for some predatory species? Artic fox,hawk or owls?
W/ only 15k left some other population should be rapidly declining too. Or on the other hand,what the red knots eat should be taking over the Artic.

If not then Darwin was right again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,070 Posts
Originally posted by Libation:
I think the real question is.. If the red knot population tanks, what is the downside?

Yeah, as long as humans don't become extinct. :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok so there is 13,000 birds the number of crabs has if anything gone up due to little to no harvest, over the past 10 years. I fully understand that the crabs don't rebound that fast, But the pressure has been taken off of them. We the fishermen have done everything that has been asked of us. Keep in mind that these birds are only here for Two to three weeks a year. I'm no birder or scientist but common sense tells me that the damage is being done else where and not here in NJ. Global warming in the arctic , Delicacies in South America. Ya can't tell me that these bird only eat for two weeks a year.

It all boils down to membership drives has to be that is the only thing that make sense.

[ 06-09-2005, 09:54 PM: Message edited by: Fishpicker ]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
posted 06-09-2005 01:42 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Thousands of horseshoe crabs perish
Dead or dying crabs caught as rains block escape route
By JAMES MERRIWEATHER / The News Journal
06/09/2005
The pile of dead horseshoe crabs kept getting bigger and bigger.

The crabs were trapped Wednesday after being washed from the Delaware Bay over flood-prone Port Mahon Road and into a slough in far eastern Kent County.

That wasn't all that unusual -- it happens a lot at high tide during horseshoe crab spawning season.

But this time there was no escape because drainage pipes, about a half-mile west of the Port Mahon fishing pier, were filled with sand by recent storms, depriving the displaced crabs of a route back to the bay.

State officials said the result was perhaps 2,000 dead and dying crabs in the shallow muddy water of the slough, part of 5,000 acres of mostly state-owned tidal marsh on the road's north side.

"It has happened here before, but the crabs, for the most part, were able to get back," said Stewart Michels, a fisheries scientist who spearheaded a last-ditch effort Wednesday to save as many crabs as possible.

The rescue effort -- manned early on by a nine-inmate crew from the Central Violation of Probation Center in Dover -- did not get under way until about noon.

"I think it was just hard to get a crew together," said Maria Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

Judging by occasional bursts of salty language, the inmates were not particularly thrilled by their role in the salvage effort. They typically would check crabs for signs of life, grab as many as six live ones by their tails, walk across Port Mahon Road and, using a fling-for-distance approach, return them to the bay. There was nothing dainty about the process.

"What's this all about, sir?" one inmate asked at one point.

"To save some crabs," Michels responded. "They're very valuable to migratory shorebirds."

A day earlier, environmental groups had called for an end to the Delaware Bay horseshoe crab harvest, and top regulators in Delaware and New Jersey signaled that they might heed the call. Migratory shorebirds, particularly the endangered red knot, feed on the crab's eggs during a 6,500-mile migration from South America to the arctic.

The inmates left in two shifts, with the last five departing about two hours after the rescue began. Michels became a one-man rescue squad before he was eventually joined by Wayne Lehman, who manages all state wildlife areas in Kent County, and Ken Hurley, a conservationist with the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Commercial fisherman Charles Auman, who uses horseshoe crabs as bait for eel and conch, had mocked environmentalists Tuesday for what he considered an attempt to deprive him of his livelihood with a total ban on harvesting crabs.

He noted that countless numbers of crabs die natural deaths -- becoming disoriented on land and unable to find their way back to the water or ending up on their backs and unable to right themselves.

"These radicals would rather see the crabs crawl up on a beach and die than see a fisherman get them," Auman said.

Contact James Merriweather at 678-4273 or [email protected].
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thee above is complements of Nightstrikes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,326 Posts
I'm not trying to step on anyones toes or point blame, but I have to disagree with the statement that the number of crabs has gone up. Gone up from what, it's all relative? They might have gone up in the past ten years, but their total population has declined significantly. 15 years ago Horseshoe crabs lined the beaches of the delaware bay by the thousands. I remember at reeds beach they were 5 feet thick to the waters edge as far as you could see. That hasn't been the case for years. And concerning the red knot, I don't think we should advocate any species going extinct. Global warming, pressure by humans, whatever... these occurrences are caused by us and we should take some measures to limit the harm we do to the environment. There has been extensive research done in south america and the artic regarding the red knot and scientists still can't pin point what is causing their population to fail. Limiting the pressures they have on their journey is just one part of the process in attempting to identify the problem. Hopefully this is all temporary.A 10,000 mile trip is an awful lot for something that small. Just my two cents...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
310 Posts
I've lived a half block from Del bay in Villas for about 20 years now,usually walk on the bay at least 4 or 5 times a week.
When I first moved here during the horseshoe crab season you could hardly take a step on the beach without stepping on one. Over the years I have seen their numbers decline greatly,seems like less than 10% of what they used to be. When the crabs were plentiful there would be small migrating birds as far as the eye could see. Doesn't take a genious to figure out why the number of birds are down now!
I have read that the red knots fly almost non-stop for a week or so from their wintering grounds then stopover in Del bay area to fatten up
on horseshoe eggs for a week or two then continue on nonstop again to the Artic.During this time they can double their body weight.
Figure it out - no horseshoe crabs - no eggs - underfed birds that might perish before they get to the Artic!
Also it is common knowledge the permit holders harvesting the crabs only want the FEMALES,which are loaded with eggs!
We all know what happens in the fish world when disruption happens during spawning season.Horseshoe crabs are part of the food chain
and if there numbers remain low eventually it's going to end up affecting a lot more than the red knots.
I'm not any kind of enviromental whacko,just giving you my personal observations on horseshoe crabs for the last 20 years. Remember,it wasn't that long ago that stripers were in trouble!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,228 Posts
Maybe the crab population is going down because we are letting all these birds eat them and their eggs, maybe we should kill all the birds before they hurt the crabs. :D
There was a big problem down at Matts Landing on Thursday, the birders were down there protesting about the legally allowed crab harvesting that was going on and there were almost some fights.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,458 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You two Gentlemen have a very valid point. But I have to question your point of " We used to see millions of crabs " walking up the beach. We have proven that the crabs are there they are just not commin up the beach. Please Walk out into the water and rub your feet together. Then come back and tell us that the crabs aren't there.

As far as our harvest numbers are concerned Yes in fact they are down. But not due to the lack of crabs. It is largely in-part due to the laws/dates and times.

Do you really believe that these little birds fly around the world Non stop and only eat here ??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,457 Posts
yeah how many concerned wackos were there to help the crabs stuck in port mahon ? "NONE"

they used jail birds! for goodness scake if you are so worryed about this problem DO something other then open your fly trapes!

and another 2 cents worth here why not had let the crab harvesters at the traped crabs in stead of letting them die in such a large number and go to watse ?

or maybe build some red nott bird feeders,i know i say this one all the time....but it seems to make scents to me...What do ya think bird feeders or ****** on the moon ?

freedom ots.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
600 Posts
the harvest is so restricted we could never even put a dent in the crab population, they should just let us catch our quota and then were are done 150,000 crabs, some guys used to catch close to that in a season, i would have no problem catching only males
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top