Interstate fishing regulators who want to get a firmer handle on how many horseshoe crabs die as part of their harvest for biomedical use are meeting this week to discuss the issue.

The crabs are harvested for their blue blood, which is used to make sure medical products aren’t contaminated. Their blood contains a chemical that can be used to detect bacteria.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has proposed taking into account the death toll associated with medical harvesting when determining how many horseshoe crabs can be harvested from the Delaware Bay.

The commission is meeting on Wednesday to discuss next steps.

The medical harvest is about 500,000 crabs per year.

They have also been harvested commercially from Maine to Florida over the years.


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