Horseshoe crabs are a linchpin in the marine ecosystem. Their nutritious eggs fuel the intercontinental migrations of coastal waterbirds, including the federally-threatened red knot. But today, their populations in Massachusetts are far below historic levels. Every year, up to 140,000 are harvested to be used as bait for whelk—a species of shellfish that is also overfished.
Now, there’s a chance to turn a new page for horseshoe crabs: state regulators have proposed to protect these creatures from harvest during their spring breeding and egg-laying season. But to pass, these regulations must be approved by the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission (MFAC).
The Division of Marine Fisheries has opened a public comment period until March 8, and will be passing on all comments to the MFAC. We need you to weigh in today.
Personal messages and stories are most effective in influencing decision-makers. Try to personalize your message as much as possible by sharing your connection with these awesome animals.