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On March 7, 2001, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) established the Dr. Carl N. Shuster, Jr. Horseshoe Crab sanctuary in
Federal waters off the mouth of the Delaware Bay estuary. The sanctuary was created to protect the large spawning population of
horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay and maintain the superabundance of crab eggs available to migratory shorebirds. The rectangular
shaped sanctuary is positioned in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) bounded by State regulated waters to the west and extending 30
miles east. The reserve’s southern boundary lies just north of Ocean City, MD and the northern boundary is just south of Atlantic City, NJ.
No commercial harvesting of horseshoe crabs is allowed within sanctuary waters.
The sanctuary is named after the distinguished Dr. Carl Shuster, Jr., Adjunct professor in Marine Sciences from the College of William & Mary. Dr. Shuster is the world’s leading authority on the American horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus. In May 2000, he recommended to the ASMFC that a sanctuary be established to protect juvenile and adult females from commercial over-harvesting at that time. The reserve represents another management tool used to protect the important Delaware Bay population from harvest pressures.
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|Updated July 29, 2005|