This summer at the Jersey Shore, you may find a horseshoe crab on the beach--or you may not.
Many who recognize the species, which dates back over 450 million years, don't realize that their numbers have sharply decreased over the very short period of 50 years. In the 1960's, it was not uncommon to find the beaches littered with these spectacular creatures. Today, many beachgoers cannot even identify the species.
Since 2008, New Jersey has banned the harvesting of these vital pieces of the ecosystem. Being the only state with such stringent laws, our political representatives should support the revitalization of the horseshoe crab. Unfortunately, Senator Jeff Van Drew and Assemblyman Nelson Albano have taken strides to revoke the laws currently in place. The primary force behind this movement is the relatively small fishing industry of South Jersey, which swears by its use of the horseshoe crab as bait for eels. What Van Drew and Albano fail to realize is the horseshoe crab, each laying between 60,000 and 120,000 eggs per year, feeds the birds of the Jersey Shore.
In Senator Van Drew's eyes, the moratorium is "sexy and cool." He has stated that most supporters of the movement have never even seen a horseshoe crab in their life, and just want to say that they have helped save the environment.
Thousands of South Jerseyans would surely disagree, and it is part of our civic duty to express our opinion against the politicians who represent our great state. Instead of getting rid of the laws in place, New Jersey should be influencing other states to follow suit.