Study to Focus on Horseshoe Crab Blood-Letting Death Rate

Transmitters to Track Cape Horseshoe Crabs
Horseshoe Crab, Photo/New England Boating, Kendra Sousa

Seacoast Online: Environmental regulators studying the harvesting of horseshoe crabs that are drained of some of their blood for biomedical use say they need to get a firmer handle on how many die as part of the process.

The crabs, which have been on earth for hundreds of millions of years and are older than dinosaurs, are harvested because their blood contains coagulogen, a chemical used to make sure medical products aren’t contaminated by bacteria. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, an interstate authority, voted this month to propose taking into account the death toll associated with medical harvesting when determining the number of horseshoe crabs that can be harvested from the Delaware Bay.

Read more about the study that seeks to determine the death rate among horseshoe crabs that have their blood taken for biomedical research.