Horseshoe crabs are a naturally occurring species in the waters of
Long Island. They are a listed internationally as a species of
special concern meaning their numbers are declining. In Long
Island Sound and surrounding waters, they are an important
commercial bait species horseshoe crabs are harvested and sold to
be used as bait for eels and whelk, which are then sold to China.
Horseshoe crabs are also harvested elsewhere along the east coast
for medical reasons their blood is important in medical testing of
antibiotics. These crabs are also important ecologically: their
eggs are an important food source to some species of migratory shore
the species is so important to the local economy and to regional
ecology, scientists are studying why the species is declining.
Recent research suggests that, in Long Island Sound estuaries,
beaches are experiencing a lot of erosion leaving them with less
sand and with a lot of cobble and rock. This is the preferred
habitat of the Asian shore crab which preys on juvenile horseshoe
crabs. More experimentation needs to be done to confirm this
theory, but, even so, habitat loss is a major concern for Manhasset
Bay and Long Island Sound.
you can do:
Support local habitat restoration efforts by viewing
them as a positive move for the Bay and local economy (sometimes
there are volunteer opportunities associated with these restoration
Excessive nitrogen in the ecosystem has been linked
to the die-off of coastal habitats: pay attention to new
regulations and research made to address this problem
Know where your sewage goes: the main source of
nitrogen to Manhasset Bay is from sewage treatment systems. If you
have a cesspool or septic system, make sure your system is regularly
pumped out and properly functioning. Additionally, as these systems
are not designed to remove nitrogen, consider upgrading to a system
that does or to connect to sewer when its time to get a new system.