Save Threatened Bird from Shellfish Industry Expansion

Red Knot Shorebird

Target: Gregory Breese, Project Leader for the Delaware Bay Estuary Project, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Goal: Protect a threatened seabird’s habitat and food supply from new commercial oyster farms.

A diminishing shorebird species is in danger due to an increase in oyster and shellfish farms along the birds’ crucial habitat. The farms operate on shorebird feeding grounds and disturb the habitat of the shorebirds’ main source of food, horseshoe crab eggs. We must speak up now and delay the approval of any new shellfish farms until proper research is conducted and conservation methods are enforced.

This shorebird, known as a red knot, rests and feeds on the shores of the Delaware Bay in the middle of the species’ annual journey from South America to the Arctic. The red knot relies on horseshoe crab eggs to fatten up and complete the rest of this impressive migration trip. However, the birds no longer want to stop on certain beaches along the bay due to shellfish operations that scare the birds away and cause a lack of horseshoe crabs in the shallow waters.

Current oyster farms are interested in conservation methods to save the birds but nothing is done to halt the establishment of more oyster farming plots. If more farming operations are approved without knowing the exact harm done to the red knot, this species will continue to suffer. In the 1980s, the red knot population along the bay shore was nearly 100,000. In more recent years, the numbers have dropped to only 30,000. This astonishing decline is due to diminishing food supplies.

By signing this petition, you are demanding that the Project Leader for the Delaware Bay Estuary Project seek to protect the red knot shorebird from oyster farming.


Dear Project Leader Breese,

The Delaware Bay is not only economically viable but also ecologically rich. The bay is a crucial resting and feeding spot for the red knot shorebird, a migrating bird that travels 10,000 miles from South America to the Arctic every year. The bird feeds on horseshoe crab eggs to fatten up during the long journey. Sadly, the red knot is now considered a threatened species.

Shellfish farming along the Delaware Bay disrupts the habitat of not only the red knot but also the red knot’s food source, horseshoe crabs. The red knot population number along the bay has declined from 100,000 in the 1980s to 30,000 in recent years. This has everything to do with a lack of food supply for the red knot. Something must be done to safeguard this struggling species. I am urging you to please protect the red knot by halting any new shellfish farms from operating along the bay until proper research is conducted.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

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One Comment

  1. We MUST be their voice — if we don’t protect them, who will.

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