(Washington, D.C. ? March 17, 2009) The State of Maryland announced today that effective April 1 it will require a 2:1 male to female harvest ratio to provide additional horseshoe crab eggs to migratory shorebirds. See the Maryland Department of Natural Resources release below.

?This is a strong step in the right direction in ensuring more critically important horseshoe crab eggs will be on the beach when Red Knots stop to refuel on their long migration northward,? said Darin Schroeder, Vice President of Conservation Advocacy for American Bird Conservancy. ?Both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey have concluded that without greater conservation of horseshoe crabs, the eastern Red Knot (rufa) subspecies could be extinct within a decade. Gov. O?Malley and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources are to be commended for taking this action, which we hope will ensure future generations of Americans will be able to see this magnificent bird like past generations have.?

Red Knot, Cook Co.,IL, Montrose Point 5-24-08 ? Paul Dacko from Surfbirds Galleries

The (rufa) Red Knot, a reddish-brown shorebird a little larger than an American Robin, annually migrates from Tiera Del Fuego to its Arctic breeding grounds, stopping to rebuild critical energy reserves by feasting on horseshoe crab eggs in the Delaware Bay. Unfortunately, science has shown the number of available horseshoe crab eggs has declined, leading the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to conclude that, ?The primary factor threatening the red knot (sic) is destruction and modification of its habitat, particularly the reduction in key food resources resulting from reductions in horseshoe crabs ??.

Due to a 15% decline in Red Knot numbers at the species? wintering grounds in the past year, and a 75% decline from 1985 to 2007, FWS has increased the listing priority for the species from a six to a three. Only 14,800 Red Knots were counted in 2007 at the species? primary wintering areas.

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