New Jersey’s migrating shorebirds shun sunken shellfish supports

Red knots and Horseshoe crabs, Delaware Bay

LINDSEY KONKEL / HAKAI MAGAZINE – Each May, up to a million migrating shorebirds alight on the shore of Delaware Bay to fatten up on horseshoe crab eggs. The estuary, on the border of New Jersey and Delaware, is the last and most critical stop for these birds, including the threatened rufa red knot.

Delaware Bay is also home to a resurgent oyster industry, which is getting back on its feet after decades of turmoil. But a new study suggests that oyster farming equipment off the coast could prove detrimental to the already declining knots.

New Jersey’s once-thriving oyster industry collapsed in the 1950s, when a series of infectious diseases caused oyster populations along the east coast to crash. New Jersey’s Delaware Bay communities…

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