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ERDG completes Phase II of its bait bag initiative

July 30, 2001

Building on last year’s success in reducing Virginia’s annual harvest of horseshoe crabs for bait in the conch fishery by over 355,000 animals. ERDG formed a partnership with Kent-Sussex Industries of Delaware to manufacture and distribute over 6,000 bait bags free of charge, to conch fishermen in Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. Funding from the National Marine Fisheries Service, State agencies and others made this possible.

photo of Ann Burton

The News Journal GARY EMEIGH

Ann Burton of Milford packs bait bags at the Kent and Sussex Industries in Milford, DE.

The successful use of this innovation will significantly reduce the use of horseshoe crabs as bait, an exploitation that accounts for the mortality of several million adult horseshoe crabs on the Atlantic coast annually. Next year ERDG will implement Phase III of its bait bag initiative, providing over 7,000 bait bags to conch fishermen in the states of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts free of charge. It is ERDG’s intention to extend the success of its bait bag initiative throughout the entire conch fishery. ERDG is currently conducting research on several alternative baits.

Our partner Kent-Sussex Industries (KSI) of Milford Delaware is a nonprofit organization that employs people with disabilities. It is a sheltered workshop that allows individuals, who may not otherwise be able to work, to go out every day and be a productive member of the work force. It was KSI employees who manufactured this past year’s bags and will manufacture next year’s, provided we secure the necessary funding.

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