Wednesday’s lead editorial talks about the success of Associates of Cape Cod, which uses horseshoe crab blue blood to test for disease-causing pathogens in medicine (“Woods Hole partnership can help diversify Cape economy”). For some reason you chose to not discuss the issue of the declining population of horseshoe crabs.
“The horseshoe crab used to be prevalent up and down the Eastern Seaboard; however, development, pollution, and overharvesting have severely impaired their populations and habitat,” declares a 2010 report by Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
We used to see a large number of these crabs on beaches here in Marion, but haven’t seen any for a number of years. Poaching is a big problem, and the crabs are then used for bait — and possibly for their blood.
Maybe we could hear from the Associates of Cape Cod about the source of its crab blood, and what the company is doing to stem the crabs’ decline.