The search for the red knot

The red knot is a bird, a species of sandpiper. In 2000, my step-daughter volunteered for a research project that looked for red knots’ nesting sites in the Canadian Arctic. The New Jersey Fish & Wildlife service was looking for them because the red knot passes through on its migration to the Arctic and populations of Red Knot breeding in North America have experienced a drastic decline in numbers in the past thirty years.

The red knot stops at Chesapeake Bay in the U.S. state of Delaware and fills up on horseshoe crab eggs; but fishermen are competing for the eggs, which they sell for fish bait, pet food, and even fertilizer. The crabs depend for their survival on producing enough eggs to feed every passing bird or fish plus living through the hazardous life of a larval crab. The fishermen are scooping off the crabs’ necessary surplus.

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