For Immediate Release
Contact:  Lenore Tedesco, Executive Director
(609) 368-1211


Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Horseshoe Crabs

Stone Harbor, NJ – Although diamondback terrapin research and conservation is a focal point of the Wetlands Institute’s efforts, coastal and wetlands stewardship encompasses much more than one species.  The current addendum to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (ISFMP) for Horseshoe Crabs is scheduled to expire in 2013.  The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission requested public comment on the most recent draft addendum (VII) to the ISFMP for Horseshoe Crabs, which will establish a management program for the Delaware Bay region.

Several of the management options suggested in the draft addendum would compromise protection of horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay region.  Provoked by the potential for horseshoe crabs to lose some degree of protection, and inspired by the opportunity to help increase protection, the Institute has submitted a comment to the ASMFC for their consideration.  The Institute’s position statement is as follows:

“Due to the uncertainty concerning the fate of ecologically linked, and at-risk, species like horseshoe crabs, marine sea turtles, Red Knots and other migratory shorebirds, we implore the Commission to implement an Addendum VII to the Interstate Fisheries Management Plan for Horseshoe Crabs that is responsible, risk-averse, and focuses on the long-term sustainable recovery of horseshoe crab populations within their entire range.

Such an approach requires that there should not be an allowable harvest of Delaware Bay-origin horseshoe crabs under any circumstances until their populations rebound to historic levels.  Horseshoe crabs occupy a critical niche in both the ecology of Delaware Bay and human pharmacology.  They provide incalculable services and their popular decline has catastrophic implications.  Every feasible action to protect this at-risk species should be taken.”

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will review public comment and vote on Addendum VII on February 9th in Alexandria, Virginia.  The Institute’s full comment can be viewed by clicking here.

The Wetlands Institute is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) educational and research facility focused on salt marsh and coastal ecosystem preservation.  Annually, the Institute educates over 40,000 visitors, of which 9,000 are school aged children.  The Wetlands Institute’s mission is to promote appreciation, understanding and stewardship of wetlands and coastal ecosystems through programs in research, education and conservation.  From its inception, the Wetlands Institute has pioneered a number of research, education and conservation programs about wetlands and coastal ecosystems, and worked with numerous regional, national and international organizations to foster stewardship of these resources worldwide.