Greens sue to find out the fate of Maryland’s horseshoe crabs

By Michael Doyle | 05/22/2024 04:05 PM EDT

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources this year denied a public information request for the state’s horseshoe crab records.

Horseshoe Crabs gather at Pickering Beach.

Horseshoe crabs gather at Pickering Beach in Dover, Delaware. Matt Rourke/AP

Environmentalists sued a Maryland state agency Wednesday in a bid for more data on the exploited lives and deaths of horseshoe crabs.

Citing the need to pinpoint crab losses attributable both to commercial fishing and harvesting by pharmaceutical companies, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a public information lawsuit against the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

In a succinct, one-paragraph filing, the environmental organization asked a judge in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County to review the Maryland agency’s alleged failure to release detailed information on the human-caused deaths and injuries suffered by the armored, tank-like species that’s estimated to be some 300 million years old.


“We’re trying to get a handle on why horseshoe crabs are so precipitously declining … but none of those specifics are available to the public,” William Snape, a professor at the American University Washington College of Law, said in an interview. “Why is this information so hard to get?”