Monday, June 21, 2010

States Schedule Hearings on Horseshoe Crab

The following is from a news release from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission:

States Schedule Hearings on Horseshoe Crab Draft Addendum VI
Draft Addendum Explores Management Options for Delaware Bay Region

In February, the Horseshoe Crab Management Board initiated development of Draft Addendum VI in response to several factors. These include the impending expiration of Addendum V's provisions on October 31, 2010; the findings of the recent benchmark stock assessment for horseshoe crab and its associated Adaptive Resource Management (ARM) framework; and continued public concern regarding the horseshoe population and its ecological role in the Delaware Bay, specifically its connection to the red knot population.

The Draft Addendum proposes a number of options for management of horseshoe crab in the Delaware Bay Region (coastal and bay waters of New Jersey and Delaware, and coastal waters only of Maryland and Virginia). These range from an extension of the current management measures under Addendum V to several alternatives generated from the Adaptive Resource Management (ARM) framework. The ARM framework provides the Board with a tool to manage horseshoe crab harvest explicitly taking into account multispecies interactions with shorebirds (mainly the red knot).

The 2009 Horseshoe Crab Stock Assessment concluded that crab abundance in the Southeast and Delaware Bay Regions has increased, while abundance in the New York and New England Regions has decreased over the respective time series. Since the 2008 fishing season, New York and Massachusetts adjusted their state regulations to provide further protection to the horseshoe crab resource and maintain a sustainable fishery.

While horseshoe crab abundance in the Delaware Bay Region continues to rebuild, the red knot (rufa subspecies), one of many shorebird species that feed on horseshoe crab eggs, is at low population levels.  Red knots have shown no sign of recovery despite a nearly 80 percent reduction in horseshoe crab landings since 1998. Technical advisors recommend continued precautionary management of the Delaware Bay horseshoe crab population.

New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on Draft Addendum VI to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Horseshoe Crabs.

The dates, times, and locations of the scheduled meetings follow:

New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife
July 1, 2010; 6:30 PM
Assunpink Wildlife Management Area Conservation Center (several hundred yards up from Central Region Office)
1 Eldgridge Road
Upper Freehold Township, New Jersey
Contact: Amanda Dey at (609) 259-6967

Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control
July 28, 2010; 7:00 PM
Richardson and Robbins Building Auditorium
89 Kings Highway
Dover, Delaware
Contact: Stew Michels at (302) 735-2970

Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources
July 21, 2010; 6:30 PM
Ocean Pines Library
11107 Cathell Road
Berlin, Maryland
Contact: Steve Doctor at (410) 213-1531

Virginia Marine Resources Commission
July 7, 2010; 6:00 PM
2600 Washington Avenue
4th Floor
Newport News, Virginia
Contact: Jack Travelstead at (757) 247-2247

The Board is scheduled to meet in August during the Commission's Summer Meeting to review public comment and consider taking final action on the Draft Addendum. Fishermen, shorebird advocacy groups, and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum, either by attending public hearings or providing written comments.

The Draft Addendum can be obtained via the Commission's website at under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at (202) 289-6400.

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