There are still a number of spots available for horseshoe crab tagging along the Delaware Bay.
While the events in Cape May County have filled to capacity, you can still volunteer for a number of dates in nearby Cumberland County, NJ. These events are being held along the New Jersey side of Delaware Bay at Dyers Cove, Fortescue, Moores, and Thompsons beaches.
To volunteer, go to http://www.horseshoecrabtagging.org/volunteer.html. While dates listed are closed for Cape May County, all are still available for Cumberland County beaches. Start times will be approximately 30 minutes later than those listed. Participants
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.
The work will be under the direction of conservation and agency biologists and will involve counting and tagging crabs on the beach during spawning. Each team will record the tag number of every resighted crab and additional measurements may be taken at that time.
Dress for the weather and to get wet. Wear footwear that can into the water. Bring water, bug repellent, and a headlamp or flashlight. Cameras are welcome, but users should avoid excessive flash photography.
At time of publication, available days and times: Tuesday, May 23 at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 24 at 8:30 p.m., Thursday, May 25 at 9:15 p.m., Saturday, May 27 at 11 p.m., Wednesday, June 7 at 8:30 p.m., Thursday, June 8 at 9:15 p.m., Friday, June 9 at 9:45 p.m., Saturday, June 10 at 10:15 p.m., Sunday, June 11 at 11 p.m., Friday, June 23 at 9 p.m., and Sunday, June 25 at 10:45 p.m.
Horseshoe crab eggs with an unusual greenish color.