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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Dr. Mike Millard represents Service on international horseshoe crab science committee

Region 5, April 14, 2014
Dr. Mike Millard of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Dr. Mike Millard of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Photo Credit: n/a

Dr. Mike Millard, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Northeast Fishery Center in Lamar, Penn., is one of six scientists selected by the International Union for Conservation of Nature to assess and make recommendations on the status listing for horseshoe crabs (Limulus).

 

Millard’s selection to represent the Service on this prestigious multi-agency group is a testament to the level of respect he has within the fisheries science community.

"It's an honor to serve on this international team of professionals who are dedicated to conserving these ancient animals that are ecologically, economically, and culturally valued across the globe,” says Millard.

Millard has led the Service for over a decade on horseshoe crab conservation, and along with other Service biologists has made great strides in formulating sustainable management practices for the species. He traveled to Hong Kong and Taiwan where he contributed to a symposium for transferring ideas learned with our local species to help conserve imperiled Asian horseshoe crab species. With the help of Millard and his U.S. colleagues, that international effort led to strategies to raise awareness for the imperiled Asian species.

The IUCN is a global authority on imperiled species and has a unique classification system for evaluating the conservation status of animal populations. The team of scientists on which Millard serves will make a recommendation on the species’ status to the IUCN to ensure horseshoe crab populations are not overexploited.

Horseshoe crabs are harvested for use as bait, as well as for globally important purposes in the biomedical industry. At the same time, horseshoe crab eggs are a major dietary component of migrating shore birds. The teams’ recommendations to the IUCN for a final decision will reflect the status of the North American population as a whole, and could affect both the commercial harvest industry and shore bird conservation efforts. A team of Asian scientists is working on recommendations for the three Asian species of horseshoe crabs.

Millard’s work with the IUCN demonstrates the Service’s strong commitment to working with partners and collaborating with others for the best science-based decisions in wildlife conservation.

Contact Info: Jennifer Lapis, 413-253-8303, Jennifer_Lapis@fws.gov