BY ANGELA CARELLA
MAY 16, 2022
The bill, which would have banned fishermen from collecting the venerable, vulnerable horseshoe crab from Connecticut beaches, passed the state House of Representatives in a vote of all yeses, and seemed to have similar support in the state Senate.
But in the final hours of the legislative session, the bill failed to come up for a vote, and died.
So the disappearing horseshoe crab, which breeds in sandy inlets for a few days during full and new moons this time of year, will take another hit, said Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, the Darien advocacy organization that helped draft the bill.
It’s senseless to allow harvesting of the “ancient mariners,” the “living fossils” that have populated Earth for 445 million years, before the dinosaurs, Feral said.
Once plentiful along the Connecticut shore, horseshoe crabs have been disappearing for two decades. Fishermen kill them and cut them up for bait.
“It’s time to leave them the heck alone,” Feral said.
Folks living along the shore weighed in during a virtual state hearing in March. That was followed by the 144-0 House vote supporting the harvesting ban in April.
But the bill stalled in the Senate, and was among five that didn’t survive May 4, the last day of the legislative session in Hartford.
“It seems like these bills were removed to make room for other things,” Feral said. “Our bill wasn’t held back from a vote because of objections. I knew we had the votes. It was excruciating to get to the last few days only to see it held up.”