An Integrative Approach to Horseshoe Crab Multiple Use and Sustainability

  • Jim Berkson


This chapter is designed as a perspective piece, using personal opinions to further the discussion about horseshoe crab management, a relatively new topic. I argue that horseshoe crab management and the science that management supports has been one-dimensional, focused almost exclusively on the commercial harvest. Fortunately, we can use lessons learned from fisheries management over time to guide us and adapt these lessons specifically to horseshoe crab management. Progress will require the incorporation of concepts including precautionary management, integrated assessments, cumulative impacts, and ecosystem-based management as we move beyond resource conservation to sustainable resource utilization.


Fishery Management Precautionary Principle Horseshoe Crab Commercial Fishery Commercial Harvest 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank the organizers of the symposium and the editors of the book for inviting me to participate. Dr. Eric Hallerman, Dr. Stephen Smith, Alex Chester, Michelle Davis, and the editors provided extremely helpful comments on earlier drafts.


  1. ASMFC (Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission) Horseshoe Crab Stock Assessment Subcommittee (2004) Horseshoe Crab Stock Assessment Report. Washington, DC, 87pGoogle Scholar
  2. Ault JS, Smith SG, Bohnsack JA, Luo JG, Harper DE, McClellan DB (2006) Building sustainable fisheries in Florida's coral reef ecosystem: Positive signs in the Dry Tortugas. Bull Mar Sci 78:633–654Google Scholar
  3. Avissar NG (2006) Modeling potential impacts of beach replenishment on horseshoe crab nesting habitat suitability. Coast Manage 34: 427–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berkson J, Chen CP, Mishra J, Shin P, Spear B, Zaldivar-Rae J (2008) A discussion of horseshoe crab management in five countries: Taiwan, India, China, United States, and Mexico. In: Tanacredi JT, Botton ML, Smith DR (eds) Biology and Conservation of Horseshoe Crabs. Springer, New York, pp 465–475Google Scholar
  5. Berkson J, Shuster CN Jr. (1999) The horseshoe crab: The battle for a true multiple-use resource. Fisheries 24: 6–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boelee E, Laamrani H, Van der Hoef W (2007) Multiple use of irrigation water for improved health in dry regions of Africa and South Asia. Irrig Drain 56:43–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borsuk ME, Reichert P, Peter A, Schager E, Burkhardt-Holm P (2006) Assessing the decline of brown trout (Salmo trutta) in Swiss rivers using a Bayesian probability network. Ecol Model 192:224–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Botton ML, Itow T (2009) The effects of water quality on horseshoe crab embryos and larvae. In: Tanacredi JT, Botton ML, Smith DR (eds) Biology and Conservation of Horseshoe Crabs. Springer, New York, pp 439–454Google Scholar
  9. Brown K, Adger WN, Tompkins E, Bacon P, Shim D, Young K (2001) Trade-off analysis for marine protected area management. Ecol Econ 37:417–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cockcroft AC, Payne AIL (1999) A cautious fisheries management policy in South Africa: the fisheries for rock lobster. Mar Policy 23:587–600CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Constable AJ, de la Mare WK, Agnew DJ, Everson I, Miller D (2000) Managing fisheries to conserve the Antarctic marine ecosystem: Practical implementation of the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). ICES J Mar Sci 57:778–791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Darcy GH, Matlock GC (1999) Application of the precautionary approach in the national standard guidelines for conservation and management of fisheries in the United States. ICES J Mar Sci 56:853–859CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davis ML, Berkson J, Kelly M (2006) A production modeling approach to the assessment of the horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) population in Delaware Bay. Fish Bull 104:215–225Google Scholar
  14. Decker, DJ, Enck JW (1996) Human dimensions of wildlife management: Knowledge for agency survival in the 21st century. Hum Dimens Wildl 1:60–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Francis RC, Hixon MA, Clarke ME, Murawski SA, Ralston S (2007) Fisheries management – ten commandments for ecosystem-based fisheries scientists. Fisheries 32:217–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Garcia SM (1994) The precautionary principle – Its implications in capture fisheries management. Ocean Coast Mange 22:99–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Graham LJ (2007) Bycatch associated with the horseshoe crab trawl survey: Identifying species composition and distribution. MS Thesis, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VAGoogle Scholar
  18. Hall SJ, Mainprize B (2004) Towards ecosystem-based fisheries management. Fish Fisheries 5:1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hallerman, E. (2007) Final Report: Horseshoe Crab Research and Monitoring Program. NOAA Grant Number NA04NMF4720312, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, 87pGoogle Scholar
  20. Hilborn R, Branch TA, Ernst B, Magnussson A, Minte-Vera CV, Scheuerell MD, Valero JL (2003) State of the world's fisheries. Ann Rev Environ Res 28:359–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kaasa SM (2007) The UN commission on sustainable development: Which mechanisms explain its accomplishments? Glob. Environ Policy 7:107–129Google Scholar
  22. King LA, Hood VL (1999) Ecosystem health and sustainable communities: North and south. Ecosyst Health 5:49–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Larkin PA (1996) Concepts and issues in marine ecosystem management. Rev Fish Biol Fisheries 6:139–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Loveland RE, Botton ML, Shuster CN Jr. (1996) Life history of the American horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus L.) in Delaware Bay and its importance as a commercial resource, In: Farrell J, Martin C (eds) Proceedings of the Horseshoe Crab Forum: Status of the Resource. University of Delaware Sea Grant College Program, Lewes, Delaware, publ DEL-SG-05–97, pp 15–22Google Scholar
  25. Mamorek D, Peters C (2001) Finding a PATH toward scientific collaboration: Insights from the Columbia River Basin. Conserv Ecol 5:8Google Scholar
  26. Marasco RJ, Goodman D, Grimes CB, Lawson PW, Punt AE, Quinn TJ (2007) Ecosystem-based fisheries management: Some practical suggestions. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 64:928–939CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mooney HA (1998) Ecosystem management for sustainable marine fisheries. Ecol Appl 8:S1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Murawski SA (2007) Ten myths concerning ecosystem approaches to marine resource management. Mar Policy 31:681–690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Oguz T, Gilbert D (2007) Abrupt transitions of the top-down controlled Black Sea pelagic ecosystem during 1960–2000: Evidence for regime-shifts under strong fishery exploitation and nutrient enrichment modulated by climate-induced variations. Deep-Sea Res I 54: 220–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Olsen E, Gjøsæter I, Røttigen I, Dommasnes A, Fossum P, Sandberg P (2007) The Norwegian ecosystem-based management plan for the Barents Sea. ICES J Mar Sci 64:599–602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pavlovic NB, Benjamin P (1999) Restoring the Indiana Dunes ecosystem: Managing for a sustainable landscape. Nat Areas J 19:96–97Google Scholar
  32. Pew Oceans Commission (2003) America's Living Oceans: Charting a course for sea change. A Report to the Nation, Recommendations for a New Ocean Policy. The Pew Charitable Trusts. Washington, DC, 166 ppGoogle Scholar
  33. Rose GA, deYoung B, Kulka DW, Goddard SV, Fletcher GL (2000) Distribution shifts and overfishing the northern cod (Gadus morhua): A view from the ocean. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 57:644–663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Schindler DW, Smol JP (2006) Cumulative effects of climate warming and other human activities on freshwaters of Arctic and subarctic North America. Ambio 35:160–168PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Schramm HL, Hubert WA (1996) Ecosystem management: Implications for fisheries management – summary and interpretation of a symposium at the 125th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society. Fisheries 21:6–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Schuler A, Meadows JC (1975) Planning resource use on national forests to achieve multiple objectives. J Environ Manage. 3:351–366Google Scholar
  37. Shuster CN Jr., Botton M (1985) A contribution to the population biology of horseshoe crabs, Limulus polyphemus (L.), in Delaware Bay. Estuaries 8:63–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Smith AK, Pollard DA (1996) The best available information – some case studies from NSW, Australia, of conservation-related management responses which impact on recreational fishers. Mar Policy 20:261–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Smith, DR. 2007. Effects of horseshoe crab spawning density on nest disturbance and exhumation of eggs: A simulation study. Est Coasts 30: 287–295Google Scholar
  40. U.S. Oceans Commission (2004) An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century: Final Report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. Washington, DC, 676 ppGoogle Scholar
  41. VanderZwaag D (2002) The precautionary principle and marine environmental protection: Slippery shores, rough seas, and rising normative tides. Ocean Devel Int Law 33:165–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Walls EA, Berkson J, Smith SA (2002) The horseshoe crab, Limulus polyphemus: 200 million years of existence, 100 years of study. Rev Fish Sci 10:39–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wu JJ, Adams RM, Boggess WG (2000) Cumulative effects and optimal targeting of conservation efforts: Steelhead trout habitat enhancement in Oregon. Am J Agric Econ 82:400–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Marine Fisheries ServiceSoutheast Fisheries Science Center, Recruiting, Training, and Research Unit at Virginia TechBlacksburgUSA

Personalised recommendations