The beginning of your Jan. 18 editorial, "Horseshoe crabs/
Keep moratorium," reads: "This again? And now, of all times?"
Yes, what better time to assist the fishermen who have lost millions of dollars in revenue due to the hurricane, not to mention the value of lost gear.
To set the record straight, the people state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic is trying to help are not approximately three dozen conch fishermen, but approximately three dozen fishermen holding licenses to harvest horseshoe crabs. The number of conch fishermen affected is more likely in the hundreds. These fishermen are getting their bait from states still permitting the harvesting of horseshoe crabs and paying top dollar for it.
By allowing New Jersey to share in the quota, we would be tapping into what is rightfully ours. These horseshoe crabs are being harvested anyway in other states. They are getting the revenue, not New Jersey. New Jersey fishermen helping New Jersey fishermen is how it should be.
Now to get to the red knot issue. Yes, they are declining in numbers and are a natural phenomenon in their migratory flight. But what is their contribution to the ecosystem? I was told that they were a food source for the Arctic fox. And the mere fact that they gorge themselves (your words) on horseshoe crab eggs could be a major contribution to the supposed declining number of horseshoe crabs.
You wrote: "This clash is almost comic. Bait versus a key food source for a threatened bird species?" It is not comic. It is sad that such hysteria has been instigated concerning these birds. They were game birds 50 years ago. Killed for sport.
I am thankful that Van Drew is taking a logical stand on this issue. I hope that common sense will prevail and the bill will be passed.
Sorry, but helping hundreds of fishermen feed their families is a reason to take the risk.
Cape May Court House