As you have probably read or guessed, I study horseshoe crabs. I am looking at their spatial and temporal distribution of the horseshoe crab population in Great Bay Estuary. I am also trying to see what factors influence their distribution.
So you can imagine, I am pretty passionate about them.
So when I read that people were actually poaching them, well that infuriated me.
Horseshoe crabs are important to a lot of folks; crabs are used as bait in the eel and whelk fishery and their unique blue blood is valuable in the biomedical industry as it provides a method to test for any bacterial endotoxins in medical instruments and intravenous drugs. Migrating birds also depend on them, in particular their eggs, as a source of energy to continue on with their migration.
Each spring, in May and June, horseshoe crabs crawl onto beaches up and down the East Coast to mate and lay their eggs.
But also making it easy to catch them.
You see, horseshoe crabs are pretty easy to grab; they dont bite, they dont have stingers, and they move pretty slow.
So when poachers illegally take them without following rules or regulations, it's wrong.
See, horseshoe crabs are pretty slow growers. It takes about 7-11 years for them to mature, so if one takes to many adults, it would be take a long time for the population to bounce back.
And seeing how much we rely on them, that would be pretty drastic.
Feel free to read these articles about the recent horseshoe crab poaching. There's probably more out there but these are the ones I gathered.
And most importantly, LEAVE THE HORSESHOE CRABS BE!