a. Except as provided pursuant to subsection b. or c. of this section, there shall be a moratorium on the taking in the State of horseshoe crabs or the eggs of horseshoe crabs, on the landing in the State of such crabs or the eggs of horseshoe crabs taken from outside of the State, and on the possession of horseshoe crabs or the eggs of horseshoe crabs regardless of their origin, until such time as: (1) the recovery targets for the population of the red knot shorebird, identified pursuant to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service 2007 status assessment, entitled “Status of the Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa) in the Western Hemisphere,” are met; and (2) a shorebird management plan, which, based upon scientific study and evidence, demonstrates to the satisfaction of the Department of Environmental Protection that a more than adequate food supply from horseshoe crab eggs for shorebirds and population viability for both shorebirds and horseshoe crabs exist. The plan shall be subject to public comment and to review and approval by a peer-review panel which shall include qualified shorebird and horseshoe crab ecologists, and the Endangered and Nongame Species Advisory Committee created pursuant to subsection e. of section 7 of P.L.1973, c.309 (C.23:2A-7). The plan must indicate that the shorebirds species including the red knot rufa subspecies have fully recovered, pursuant to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service recovery targets, before the reestablishment of a limited harvest season may be considered.
b. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section to the contrary, the Department of Environmental Protection may issue a permit for:
(1) the taking, landing and possession of horseshoe crabs or the eggs of horseshoe crabs for scientific or educational purposes only, provided that the department determines that the collection of the horseshoe crabs or the eggs of horseshoe crabs for these purposes will not cause harm to the red knot, other shorebirds, or horseshoe crab populations; or
(2) the collection of blood from horseshoe crabs for biomedical purposes, provided that the horseshoe crabs are released otherwise unharmed to the same waters from which they were collected.
c. The moratorium established in subsection a. of this section shall not apply to the possession and use of horseshoe crabs harvested outside of the State, provided that the person found in possession of, or using, the horseshoe crabs has documentation which shows that the horseshoe crabs were not harvested in New Jersey. The documentation shall include a receipt or bill of lading that provides:
(1) the name, address, and phone number of the person or company that provided the horseshoe crabs;
(2) the permit or license number of the person or company named pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection; and
(3) the state and, if possible, the location, where the horseshoe crabs were harvested.
d. Any person possessing or using horseshoe crabs in violation of this section shall be liable to a penalty of $10,000 for the first offense, and $25,000 for the second and subsequent offenses, in addition to any applicable penalties prescribed pursuant to subsections b. through d. of section 73 of P.L.1979, c.199 (C.23:2B-14).
Citation: N.J. Stat. § 23:2B-21