Federal officers are ramping up patrols in Jamaica Bay in search of one of the most obscure criminals on land or sea: horseshoe crab poachers.
Crab poachers, beware!
These shadowy seafaring scofflaws have been nabbed roaming shallow portions of the bay, using long boat hooks to pluck their prey from the sea bottom.
"We've also gotten reports where they come by van or truck and go down to one of the beaches and try to poach them that way," said U.S. Park Police Capt. John Lauro.
This year, as horseshoe crabs come ashore to lay eggs in the coming weeks, the U.S. Park Police are increasing patrols at nesting hot spots to prevent poachers from contributing to a regional ecological problem.
In response to the disturbing trend, the National Park Service last year banned horseshoe crab harvesting throughout federally controlled Jamaica Bay, though the practice remains legal, with restrictions, in New York State waters.