Other states are not as a aggressive as New Jersey in protecting horseshoe crabs and the birds that feed on their eggs. It is up to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to enact a strong management plan for protection all along the coast, which is necessary if we are ever to see a rebound in this vital resource. The Commission’s Horseshoe Crab Management Board has approved a new draft addendum to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Horseshoe Crab to replace the one that will expire on September 30, 2008.
The ASMFC believes that current management measures have resulted in increased horseshoe crab abundance and that female spawning activity is stable on Delaware Bay. But they also recognize that the red knot has not shown signs of recovery.
Draft Addendum V will contain all the current provisions of Addendum IV as options. These include a delayed, male only harvest in New Jersey and Delaware; a delayed harvest in Maryland; and a prohibition on landing of horseshoe crabs in Virginia from federal waters from January 1 through June 7. Further, the Draft Addendum proposes that no more than forty percent of Virginia’s quota may be landed from ocean waters and those landings must be comprised of a minimum male to female ratio of 2:1. These provisions fall far short of New Jersey’s own state moratorium and are difficult to monitor.
The draft will be available for public comment and review by June 13, after which several Mid-Atlantic states will conduct public hearings. A notice of the draft’s availability s well as the public hearing schedule will be release in mid-June, but this is the last WCAS newsletter until fall. For more information contact Braddock Spear, Senior Fisheries Management Plan Coordinator for Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org