It was an important day for horseshoe crabs in New Jersey.
On Thursday, May 10th, representatives with the New Jersey Audubon Society, along with New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy and Assemblyman Bruce Land, held a press conference and panel discussion in Cape May Court House to discuss the importance of protecting horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay.
Over the years, the crabs have been harvested for their blood to help scientific and pharmaceutical testing, and for baiting fish, which have put them at risk of becoming endangered.
Officials say protecting the horseshoe crab species is important because they play a crucial role in the ecosystem of the bay and serve as a vital food source for many species of animals that frequently visit South Jersey.
"Our message is to restore horseshoe crab populations to levels where all of us benefit — the animals and the people who live in the bay," said Dr. David Mizrahi, vice president of research and monitoring with New Jersey Audubon.
During the panel discussion the group deliberated on how horseshoe crabs could be protected by utilizing readily available synthetics instead of their blood.