DEEP: ASMFC Public Hearing Concerning Horseshoe Crab

NOTICE OF ASMFC PUBLIC HEARING
CONCERNING HORSESHOE CRABS

The DEP Marine Fisheries Division is hosting a public hearing of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, for public review and comment on Draft Addendum IV to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Horseshoe Crab.

This Addendum responds to public concern regarding horseshoe crab populations and their ecological role in Delaware Bay. While there are a number of scientific reviews on the status of horseshoe crabs, there is no peer-reviewed coastwide estimate of horseshoe crab abundance. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Shorebird Technical Committee has indicated that the red knot, 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 four–fold reduction in horseshoe crab landings since 1998. The Shorebird Technical Committee concluded a moratorium on horseshoe crab harvest could provide more eggs for the birds to feed upon. The Board initiated the addendum process to evaluate further restrictions on crab harvest in the Delaware Bay region. The Delaware Bay area is considered the epicenter of horseshoe crab production along the coast as well as a critical stopover area for many migratory shorebirds including the red knot.

The hearing will be held at:

7:00 PM, Tuesday, March 28, 2006
DEP Marine Headquarters (Boating Education Center)
333 Ferry Road
Old Lyme, CT 06371
I-95, Exit 70, to Route 156, south to Ferry Road in the
Boating Education Center located at the rear of the property

The public is encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum by attending the public hearing or providing written comments. Copies of the Draft Addenda can be obtained by contacting the ASMFC at 202.289.6400 or via the Commission’s web site at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News. Written comments will be accepted at the hearing or until 5:00 PM on April 17, 2006. Letters should be sent to:

Brad Spear
Fishery Management Plan Coordinator
1444 ‘Eye’ Street, NW, Sixth Floor
Washington, DC 20005
Fax: 202.289.6051
Email: comments@asmfc.org, subject line: Horseshoe Crab Addendum IV

For further information, please contact the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission at 202.289.6400.

3/09/2006