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Endangered Species Act Petitioned for American Horseshoe Crab Protection

The American horseshoe crab, a living fossil twice as old as dinosaurs, faces an uncertain future due to human activities. Overfishing, habitat loss, and biomedical industry demand have led 23 organizations to petition NOAA Fisheries for endangered species protection.

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Rizwan Shah
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Endangered Species Act Petitioned for American Horseshoe Crab Protection

Endangered Species Act Petitioned for American Horseshoe Crab Protection

In a bid to save the American horseshoe crab, a living fossil twice as old as dinosaurs, The Center for Biological Diversity and 22 other organizations have petitioned NOAA Fisheries to classify the species as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The move comes in response to plummeting populations, with a staggering two-third decline in the Delaware Bay in the past three decades alone.

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Overfishing and Habitat Loss: A Double Threat

The primary drivers behind the horseshoe crab's decline are overharvesting and habitat loss. Commercial whelk and eel fisheries indiscriminately harvest these crabs for use as bait, while biomedical companies exploit their unique blue blood to detect toxins. The loss of habitat, due to development, shoreline hardening, and sea-level rise, has further exacerbated the crisis.

Blue Blood Gold: The Biomedical Industry's Role

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"Blue blood" is the colloquial term for the horseshoe crab's copper-based blood, which plays a crucial role in the biomedical industry. It is used to test for contaminants in intravenous drugs and medical devices, making it an invaluable resource in ensuring human health and safety.

However, the biomedical industry's reliance on this resource comes at a steep price. The process of harvesting the blood is invasive and can be fatal, leading to a significant decline in horseshoe crab populations. The biomedical industry's demand for this resource has become a contentious issue, with many calling for alternatives to be developed.

Hope for the Horseshoe: The Fight for Protection

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The petition to NOAA Fisheries seeks to have the American horseshoe crab listed as an endangered species, which would provide much-needed protection to the beleaguered species. The Endangered Species Act is a powerful tool that has been instrumental in saving many species from the brink of extinction.

The recent ruling by a federal judge in West Virginia upholding the US Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to deny a permit for a timber harvest and housing development project that could have harmed the habitats of several endangered species is a testament to the Act's effectiveness. The ruling is a victory for conservationists and a beacon of hope for the American horseshoe crab.

In the race against time to save the American horseshoe crab, the petition for endangered species protection is a critical step. The fate of this ancient species hangs in the balance, and it is up to us to ensure its survival for future generations.

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Today's date: 2024-02-13

In conclusion, the American horseshoe crab, a species that has survived for millions of years, faces an uncertain future due to human activities. The petition to NOAA Fisheries for endangered species protection is a crucial step in the fight to save this ancient species. The recent ruling in West Virginia serves as a reminder of the power of the Endangered Species Act and the importance of protecting our most vulnerable wildlife.

As we stand on the cusp of a new era, the decisions we make today will have far-reaching implications for tomorrow's world. The story of the American horseshoe crab is a stark reminder of the delicate balance between human progress and environmental conservation. It is a call to action for all of us to do our part in protecting the natural world and the incredible species that call it home.

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