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If you ever paddle Monomoy....

Adam Bolonsky

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...this upcoming lecture on Thursday at the heritage center in Gloucester will be relevant. Monomoy's flats are site of an ongoing battle over horseshoe crab bleeding rights. Locals want unharnessed access, conservationists want it restricted, and meanwhile these ancient creatures continue to crawl along, mating every year around Memorial Day and blithely producing a valualbe chemical commodity.

The heritage center in Gloucester is a cool place. It has at dock the f/v Lady Grace, the swordfish boat which stood in for the Andrea Gail in that ludicrous movie made from a pretty good book about the swordfishing industry.

The news release:


7 p.m. - Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center - Free Admission -- Dessert & Coffee

The Year of the Crab: Marine Animals and Modern Medicine

Remember when you couldn’t get a flu shot last year? Your life was saved by a horseshoe crab.

The Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center continues its Thursday night lecture series at 7 p.m. on November 3rd with “The Year of the Crab: Marine Animals and Modern Medicine,” a slide/lecture by William Sargent, author of Crab Wars: A Tale of Horseshoe Crabs, Bioterrorism and Human Health.

Sargent illuminates the plight the horseshoe crab, a creature which has survived for 300 million years and which now finds itself at the center of an intense legal and ethical struggle sparked by the discovery that its blood is the basis for the most reliable test for the deadly bacteria responsible for life threatening diseases including meningitis, typhoid, toxic shock syndrome, and the gram-negative bacteria that contaminated last year’s flu vaccine. Today every drug certified by the FDA must be tested, using the horseshoe crab derivative Limulus lysate, leading to a multimillion dollar industry involving the license to “bleed” horseshow crabs and the rights to their breeding grounds. Ultimately, Sargent’s story is a story about the unintended consequences of scientific progress.

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