Horseshoe crab tagging will resume in the Shark River estuary on Tuesday, May 23 with a training/tagging event starting at the L Street Beach in Belmar, NJ. Volunteers can participate in tagging and monitoring events through June 23. Data from the work is provided to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Tagging and monitoring crabs helps provide information on population trends and crab movement, which provides a small window into the health of an important and ancient species. The spawning season of the Horseshoe Crab is the only time they come ashore and the season is just a few short weeks in May and June.
The status of horseshoe crab populations along the Atlantic coast is poorly understood, but crabs continue to be harvested by fishermen and biomedical companies. Although horseshoe crab eggs may be abundant, a decline in the horseshoe crab population would severely impact migrating shorebird populations that depend on the eggs for survival. In the Delaware Bay area, shorebirds play are crucial to the $35 million a year tourism industry.
While not as well known as Delaware Bay or Raritan Bay for horseshoe crabs, Monmouth County, New Jersey's Shark River estuary is still a popular spawning spot for the marine arthropods. Horseshoe crabs have been observed and tagged at seven locations throughout the estuary since 2003.
The schedule for horseshoe crab tagging may change due to weather but be prepared to get wet regardless of rain. Some volunteers may be assigned a specific beach to monitor around the Shark River estuary. For more information contact Capt. Al Modjeski, Habitat Restoration Director for the American LIttoral Society, at 732-291-0055 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schedule (May Change due to Weather)
Dates Dependent on Remaining Tags:
Thursday, June 22 – 6 p.m. – L Street for those that do not have a designated beach
Friday, June 23 – 7 p.m. – L Street for those that do not have a designated beach