Why is the DEP getting crabby? Just beclaws!

By Karen Zautyk

In the mid-1980s, because of all the chemicals and other pollutants that had been dumped in the waters during the preceding decades, the state Department of Environmental Protection instituted a ban on commercial crabbing in the Lower Passaic River (the portion in this region) and Newark Bay.
Thanks to that ban, the bottom-dwelling blue claw crabs have flourished. Undisturbed and free to feed and breed, they are fat and happy (we presume) and large and abundant. But they are also dangerous, and by that we don’t mean aggressive.
According to the DEP, which has just issued a new anti-crabbing warning, the blue claws harvested from the bay and the lower river “continue to show harmful levels of cancer-causing dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), as well as other contaminants, including mercury.”

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.

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