Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
With quota landed, Delaware’s horseshoe crab commercial fishery closes for 2014
DOVER (June 18, 2014) – DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife has determined that Delaware’s 2014 horseshoe crab harvest limit has been reached, with the state’s annual commercial quota of 160,435 horseshoe crabs landed. In accordance with 7 DE Admin. Code 3214, DNREC’s Fisheries Section has established that the horseshoe crab fishery is to close effective 12:01 a.m., Thursday, June 19. After this date and time, it is unlawful in Delaware to harvest horseshoe crabs during 2014.
Horseshoe crabs are managed by the Division of Fish and Wildlife through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Interstate Fishery Management Plan. Annual allocations for the Delaware Bay area states are determined through an innovative adaptive resource management model which takes into account changes in both the horseshoe crab and migratory shorebird populations to address the nutritional needs of the shorebirds. Under the management plan, Delaware’s 2014 quota allocation was 160,435 male horseshoe crabs. The harvest of female horseshoe crabs is prohibited year-round in Delaware.
Horseshoe crabs are harvested in Delaware for use as bait in the whelk (conch) and American eel fisheries. Horseshoe crabs also play an important role in the ecology of the Delaware Bay. Notable among their ecological role is the fact that migratory shorebirds rely on horseshoe crab eggs to fuel their long distance migrations to their arctic breeding grounds.
Vol. 44, No. 207