Sussex County Delaware

Carper Calls for
Moratorium on
Horseshoe Crabs

Environment ...

Wants Trawling Halted
to Stop Population Decline

Concerned about a dwindling horseshoe crab population, Delaware Governor Thomas R. Carper has written the United States Secretary of Commerce to request that a moratorium be immediately placed on horseshoe crab trawling.

In the letter on Thursday, May 4, 2000, Gov. Carper asks Secretary William B. Daley to close area waters to trawling and fishing for horseshoe crabs within a 30-mile radius of the mouth of the Delaware Bay.

Gov. Carper called on the National Marine Fisheries Service to immediately implement the moratorium. He indicated in his letter that such action was necessary to ensure the health and protection of the horseshoe crab before the spawning seasons begins later in May.

Researchers believe the horseshoe crab population is continuing to decline despite conservation efforts. North-bound shorebirds depend on horseshoe crab eggs from the Delaware Bay for food to fuel their long-distance flights. Horseshoe crabs have also proven valuable to both the bait and pharmaceutical industries.

"In Delaware, the fate of the horseshoe crab is critical and the Delaware Bay contains one of the great concentrations of this 350 million year-old species in the world," said Gov. Carper. "This proposed moratorium is critical and we need to act now. Additional steps need to be initiated to implement sound, scientific-based conservation measures for horseshoe crabs."

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