23:2B-20 Findings, declarations, determinations relative to horseshoe crab and shorebird conservation.
1.The Legislature finds and declares that each spring more than a million shorebirds of six species, including the red knot, ruddy turnstone, sanderling, semipalmated sandpiper, short-billed dowitcher, and dunlin, stop at Delaware Bay beaches and feed upon horseshoe crab eggs; that the red knot was once considered one of New Jersey's most abundant shorebirds; that this critical food source of horseshoe crab eggs consumed during the stopover of the red knot in New Jersey and Delaware is needed for the birds to gain sufficient weight to continue their migration north to breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic, survive until food becomes available, and successfully reproduce ; that surveys have shown that red knots migrating through the bay region have declined by more than 75 percent since 2000; and that state and international biologists fear that the red knot will become extinct as soon as 2010.
The Legislature further finds and declares that the numbers of shorebirds other than the red knots that feed on horseshoe crab eggs on the Delaware Bay have declined by a highly significant 64 percent during the period of 1998 through 2007.
The Legislature further finds and declares that shorebird populations have continued to decline, despite the fact that over the past two decades more than $3 million in public funds have been spent on the protection and restoration of shorebird populations and their habitats on New Jersey's Delaware Bay shore.
The Legislature therefore determines that a moratorium on the harvest, landing and possession of horseshoe crabs is critical to ensure that more horseshoe crab eggs will be available as a food source, thus increasing the likelihood of survival of these shorebirds.
L.2008, c.1, s.1.
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Last modified: October 11, 2016