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Habitat destruction is making this small bird’s journey harder

Supporters Spoke up in this Action
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

Action Ended On

September 30, 2022

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action! We're grateful for your support.

What was at Stake

Every year, thousands of red knot shorebirds complete one of the most epic migrations in the animal kingdom. They fly from the southern tip of South America, in Tierra del Fuego, all the way to their breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle. The birds make a crucial stop in Delaware Bay where they replenish their energy with horseshoe crab eggs before continuing their journey. Due to overharvesting of horseshoe crabs by the fishing industry, the Delaware Bay habitat has been degraded. As horseshoe crab numbers languish, the shorebird – which is threatened under the Endangered Species Act – has suffered as well. Yet a regional fisheries commission is now weighing a proposal that could leave the red knot with even less to eat by lifting a prohibition on killing female horseshoe crabs. Take action today to urge the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to protect the red knot and reject this dangerous proposal.  

This story is not unique to the red knot. Throughout the animal kingdom, increasing pressures from industry are putting threatened and endangered species at risk. Habitat destruction is the largest driver of biodiversity loss globally. Roughly a million of the Earth’s estimated 8 million species are threatened with extinction in the coming decades. Protecting the diverse range of species and the habitat on which they rely is more important than ever. 

The commission will likely make a final decision on the proposal in November, even though crucial information has been withheld from the public. Species in our natural world are critically dependent on one another for survival. The commission cannot move forward with a proposal that will significantly impact horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay without also harming the already threatened shorebird that has traveled halfway around the world to feast on its shores. The two are inextricably linked. 

The Endangered Species Act entitles the threatened red knot to protections, which the commission is now jeopardizing. It is up to all of us to continue to fight this proposal that threatenes further decline of this magnificent bird. 

Red knots, ruddy turnstones, dunlin and semipalmated sandpipers coming through the Delaware Bay near Fortescue, New Jersey, on May 23, 2022
Aristide Economopoulos for Earthjustice

Red knots, ruddy turnstones, dunlin and semipalmated sandpipers coming through the Delaware Bay near Fortescue, New Jersey, on May 23, 2022

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