Pickering Beach is considered by its residents and weekenders as "our little piece of heaven". Located about a mile away, East of The Dover Air Force Base, right on the Bay, and at a very convenient distance of barely an hour, from Wilmington, Delaware.
On May 17, 1999 , Bruce Babbitt, U. S. Secretary of Interior, visited the Pickering Beach and Bombay Hook, to witness the spectacular seasonal convergence of horseshoe crabs, migratory birds and people, and unite the state and federal officials to take steps to prevent this cycle -- benefittting business and ecology -- from unraveling. A dramatic increase in harvest of horseshoe crabs used for eel and conch bait, has led to rapid declines in eggs, mature adults and all shorebirds -- Red Knots, Ruddy Turn Stone, Semipalmated Sandpiper and Sanderlings -- which fuel up on the eggs before migrating North. The pictures above were taken at Pickering Beach. It was at that time that Pickering established a public access to the beach and officially became a protector of horseshoe crabs. There is an artile in The Bird Calls newsletter, dated August, 1999, <Volume 3, No. 2, Contents p.2> which reads as follows:"Despite the coordinated effors by the conservation community led by AC, National Audobon, Worl Wildlife Fund, and Defenders of Wildlife, the horseshoe crab and the migratory shorebirds that depend on its eggs, remain in jeopardy. Continued fishing pressure on the crab for the eel and conch fisheries has not been adequately addressed by Virginia and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). U. S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt brought national attention to the plight of the horseshoe crab by holding a press conference on the Delaware Bay calling on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to imorse coast-wide limits on the taking of horseshoe crabs. Unfortunately , the ASMFC horseshoe crab panel met earlier this month, and despite pleas from concersationist, did not act to set coast wide quotas for 2000 as agreed upon in it Management Plan adpted last year. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC)has set Virginia's horseshoe crab landing levels at 26 times the historic landing levels for the state. This action undermines the tough conservation actions taken by New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. Efforts to appeal to Virginia Governor Gilmore to overturn the VMRC decision, have yet to succeed. Virginia permited a 3,200% increase in it landings last year as harvesters and processors restricted by DE, NJ, and MD's limits simply exploited a loophole in Virginia's laws and landed their crabs there. Readers are urged to write to Governor Gilmore to express their concerns. Contact: Gerald Winegrad, ABC, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, or Perry Plumart, National Audobon, <email@example.com>."