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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Helping the Redknot and Horseshoe Crab

If you want to help the Redknot and Hoseshoe Crab, the single best thing you can do is to vote with your wallet. Legislation can certainly help, and so can donating to conservation organizations. But really, the most effective thing you can do is to think carefully about what you buy and eat. If you want to help the Redknot and Crab, send a clear message by:

Stop consuming all sea eel and conch products:
  • Sushi that contains eel or conch
  • Eel food products (check ingredients in sauces, fish pastes, prepared foods)
  • Eel and conch on the menus at any restaurant
  • Eel-skin products
  • Conch shells

Don't "collect" Horseshoe Crabs, of any size, ever, and don't purchase collected Horseshoe Crab specimens from someone else. They take almost a decade from birth until they are old enough to breed. Right now the eastern US shoreline needs all of the Horseshoe Crabs we can get...so do you if you want to continue to have uncontaminated vaccines, IV drug therapies, and other medications and treatments.

Provide donations or volunteer support to organizations that:
  • Protect horseshoe crab habitat
  • Protect shorebird migration and nesting areas
  • Provide cleanup to marine habitat where the Horseshoe Crabs live
  • Research shorebirds, horseshoe crabs, or their habitat
  • Research alternative baits for eels
  • See "Resources" below for more information
Don't disturb migrating shorebirds - keep your distance.

Obey all beach closings during spring and fall migrations. During their migrations, shorebirds are often starved and exhausted. Once they land, they need to eat and don't have energy to spare keeping away from humans who get too close. If the birds start to fidget as you approach, you are too close. Back off.

Educate yourself, your family, and friends. Watch the Nova special called "Crash", available on DVD through PBS or DVD retailers.

Further Reading:
  • Science Daily on Redknots: ( http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070816162204.htm )
  • Science Daily on Horseshoe Crabs: ( http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/02/060221235120.htm )
  • NOAA: ( http://www.research.noaa.gov/spotlite/archive/spot_delaware.html )
  • Local citizens organize to protect habitat:  ( http://www.capegazette.com/storiescurrent/200910/primehook02.html )
  • Human-caused changes to habitat:  ( http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/horseshoecrab/Fisheries/habitatchange.html )
  • MA asks for public help with Crab habitat:  ( http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eoeeapressrelease&L=1&L0=Home&sid=Eoeea&b=pressrelease&f=090521_pr_horseshoe&csid=Eoeea )
  • DE Fisheries Management:  ( http://www.ceoe.udel.edu/horseshoecrab/Fisheries/regulations.html )
  • NJ Helps Redknot: ( http://www.3rbc.org/news/2008/RedKnotRecovery.pdf )
Resouces:
  • http://www.horseshoecrab.org/misc/erdg.html
  • Fledgling Birders:  ( http://www.fledgingbirders.org/RedKnot2.html )
  • Bird-a-Thon: ( http://www.birdfellow.com/journal/2009/04/28/delmarva_ornithological_society_bird_a_thon )
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • The Audubon Society
  • Local land trusts along the east coast of the US
  • Local conservation organizations

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