FARMINGVILLE - The Brookhaven Town Board is considering a resolution that would ask the state Department of Environmental Conservation to ban horseshoe crab harvesting in town beaches and parks.
Community members filled Brookhaven Town Hall in Farmingville to discuss whether such a ban would help.
"This is a park, and the public expectation for parks is different than the general shoreline," says Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-East Setauket). "A park is usually a place that animals have an opportunity to have refuge."
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Fishermen say that it's already a tightly regulated industry, and that the population is not in decline. At the beginning of the season, they can catch 200 horseshoe crabs a day. That figure drops in increments as the summer progresses.
"If this were passed and the state adopted it, it would literally close Brookhaven for horseshoe crabbing," says fisherman Dave Klopfenstein.
Town Supervisor Ed Romaine supports the ban, saying it will help the horseshoe crab population. He believes a majority of residents will support the resolution.
The DEC says it performed long-term monitoring, which found horseshoe crab trends are "steady" but some areas do have downward trends. It was not clear if any of those areas are in Brookhaven.