DEEP: Notice to Whelk and Eel Fishermen

Notice To Whelk and Eel Fishermen

April 19, 2013

IMPORTED HORSESHOE CRABS

In the past year some bait dealers in other states have begun to import small quantities of three species of Asian horseshoe crabs (Tachypleus gigas, Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda, and Tachypleus tridentatus) for use as bait in the eel and whelk fisheries. The use of these non-native species as bait in our waters raises potential concerns for the health of native marine resources.

These crabs, even though dead, can carry parasites. One species of parasitic flatworm lays eggs in tough cocoons on the shell of the Asian horseshoe crab, which can easily survive and hatch even if the host crab is killed. The introduction of such parasites could have detrimental effects on our native horseshoe crab population.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is moving to add these species to the Injurious Wildlife list of the Lacey Act so importation can be regulated on a federal level, however such action can take up to a year to put in place.

In the meantime, we ask your help in preventing the introduction of potentially harmful organisms to Long Island Sound by avoiding using non-native species as bait.

For further information, contact the DEEP Marine Fisheries Division by email at deep.marine.fisheries@ct.gov, by mail at PO Box 719, Old Lyme, CT 06371 or by telephone at 860.434.6043 between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

For further information concerning Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) contact Connecticut Sea Grant by telephone at 860.405.9128, email at nancy.balcom@uconn.edu or visit their AIS web site.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer that is committed to requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any person with a disability who may need information in an alternative format may contact the agency's ADA Coordinator at 860-424-3194, or at deep.hrmed@ct.gov. Any person with limited proficiency in English, who may need information in another language, may contact the agency's Title VI Coordinator at (860) 4234-3035, or at deep.aaoffice@ct.gov. Any person with a hearing impairment may call the State of Connecticut relay number - 711. Discrimination complaints may be filed with DEEP's Title VI Coordinator. Requests for accommodations must be made at least two weeks prior to any agency hearing, program or event.

(N13-05)