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Horseshoe Crab Shortage Leading Red Knot To Extinction

Posted By G Living Staff Monkies On July 14, 2008 @ 3:33 pm In G Living,Nature / Non Human Stories | No Comments

I’m really sick of this story: animal needs food but can’t get it because man is hording it for evil purposes. It’s like taking candy from a baby, except that instead of simply crying, the animals in question are dying.

The latest potential casualty is this seemingly never ending saga is the red knot. This medium sized bird lives on the shore, breeds in tundra and has an enormous migration pattern that takes them from the lower parts of South America all the way to the Arctic. Along its journey the red knot pit stops in Delaware to feast on its food of choice — the eggs produced by horseshoe crabs.

But the red knot has unfair competition in the way of commercial fisherman, who scoop up the horseshoe crabs and use them as bait. And the proof of the results is in the pudding: over the last two decades, horseshoe crabbing has gone up while the red knot’s population has gone down. Way down.

This is not a new problem. Environmentalists have been trying for years to get a ban passed that would stop the harvesting of horseshoe crabs in order for the red knot to repopulate, but they’ve only been partially successful. Their efforts yielded a cap on Delaware harvests and a temporary (two-year) cessation in New Jersey.

And the New Jersey ban was a short-lived victory, since the state’s Marine Fisheries Council voted this week to overturn the decision, even though New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection said the action would most likely mark the end of red knot. You can surely guess how this tale will end.

As I said, I’m sick of this story. If only the lawmakers were as well.

(via Plenty)

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