Support Ban on Imported Asian Horseshoe Crabs That Pose Health Threats

Target: Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission [ASMFC]

Goal: Applaud the ban on importing and using potentially hazardous Asian horseshoe crabs as bait

Throughout a long-withstanding contention on how to manage the population of East Coast horseshoe crabs, fishery officials have taken action to ban imports of three Asian species of horseshoe crabs. Officials are enforcing the ban on imports due to the crabs being potential hosts for parasites and other pathogens that are harmful to humans and local fisheries.

In the waters along the East Coast, horseshoe crabs are typically caught and used by fishermen as bait when fishing for eel and whelk. However, the recent bait shortages, due to restrictions on the harvest of domestic horseshoe crabs, have prompted fishermen and seafood dealers to resort to importing horseshoe crabs from Asia.

The fishery commission is urging 15 Atlantic coastal states to adhere to the ban because of the potential threat that these three species of Asian horseshoe crabs pose on human and wildlife health. Officials explain how a parasitic flatworm can lay its eggs on the shell of an Asian horseshoe crab, which can survive and hatch, even if the host crab perishes. Also, another one of the species included in the ban is known to contain a powerful neurotoxin that if ingested by a marine creature can accumulate, which is known to result in illness if human consumption occurs. Thus, the exposure of a parasitic Asian crab into American waters can have damaging effects.

Stated in the resolution, it can take up to a year for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to add these three species to the Injurious Wildlife list, so importation can be regulated on a federal level. Until then, board members are insisting that states along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean adhere to the ban and take immediate action to stop the importation.

Support the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission for resolving to ban the use and importation of Asian horseshoe crabs that pose a potential health threat to waters along the east coast.


Dear Members of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission,

Due to bait shortages among Atlantic fisheries, seafood dealers turned to the importation of 2,000 Asian horseshoe crabs in 2011 and 7,400 kilograms of crabs in 2012. However, with the potential health risk it poses to American consumers and wildlife resources, it is extremely important that Atlantic states adhere to the ban.

The detrimental effects of introducing parasitic horseshoe crabs are prominent and thereby addressing this concern in a timely fashion, you have prevented illness to those who might have ingested exposed seafood. Therefore, I support the resolution of the ban on importation of Asian horseshoe crabs that may contain parasites or other harmful toxins.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons

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