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Noticed a significant decrease in the number of horseshoe crabs in the area (Northshore east of Port Jeff). They used to storm the beaches in May and June, now there are just a few. Wonder if that is another sign of problems with our waters ? Someone told me that they are being caught and used for crab/lobster bait but do not know if that is true. Any studies as to what is going on ?
 

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Horseshoe crabs follow the lunar cycle. End of the month on the full moon you should see many more in the shallows doubled up, mating. Yes there were used in pots as crab and lobster bait but not so anymore. They are regulated by the DEC (what isn't)in terms of quantity you can harvest as there is concern about the diminishing numbers. This is related to the use of their blood in medical testing and research as their blood is copper based (blue) not iron based (red) as in most other types of life. Most of the horseshoe crabs harvested for medical research is done in the Chesapeake. They have smartened up to the fact that they were wiping them out so now they just draw a limited amount of blood from them and release them alive. Now here's an idea fence off an acre or so of bottom and draw blood from them and release back into enclosure. Become a vampire farmer
 

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Wader and I were just discussing horseshoe crabs. We noticed that the spawn started on the North shore last week. However, unlike in years past when they were so thick that you couldn't even wade into the water, their spawning population seems to be very thin this year.

Legislation is in the works to protect this prehistoric species. Yes, they are used in the biomedical field and they are used to bait killie and spearing traps. They are another species that needs immediate protection before it's too late.
 

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still used for bait

horse shoe crabs are stil harvested for bait, it is the preferred bait for eel pots/traps.
they just love the horse shoe eggs.

there are definatley less horse shoes today than 5 years ago,
i get to go out on a dragger several times a year and when the bag would be hauled up onboard 50% of the catch was horse shoe crabs (thrown back), this was 5 years ago, today, maybe 15% of the bag is horse shoe crab.
the commercial guys call them HELMETS.

i have noticed a large increase in the number of skates that are caught.
 
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