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Public Encouraged To Help Identify Horseshoe Crab Spawning Habitat
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection?s Division of Fish and Wildlife is encouraging the general public to assist in identifying horseshoe crab spawning habitat throughout the state this spring. Collecting information on potential spawning habitat is the result of an Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Fishery Management Plan for Horseshoe Crabs adopted in 1998 and is required of all coastal states from Maine to Florida.
While many Delaware Bay beaches and some Atlantic coastal bay beaches are known to support horseshoe crab spawning from year to year, the Division would appreciate personal observations from individuals on current sites of spawning activity.

The horseshoe crab spawning season in the mid-Atlantic area usually occurs during May and June when large numbers of horseshoe crabs move onto sandy beaches to mate and lay eggs. Spawning habitat generally includes sandy beach areas within bays and coves that are protected from significant wave action. Male and female horseshoe crabs are coupled during mating and egg-laying.

During the May and June horseshoe crab spawning season, migratory shorebirds, especially the red knot, are likely to be present on the beaches feeding on horseshoe crab eggs to replenish their body weight and continue the migration to their arctic breeding grounds. Under no circumstances should survey participants disturb any feeding shorebirds while making their horseshoe crab spawning observations. This is a critical feeding period for migratory shorebirds, especially on the Delaware Bay beaches.

This spring, persons interested in reporting horseshoe crab spawning activity should be alert to the dates of new and full moons: May 4 - full moon, May 19 - new moon, June 3 - full moon and June 17 - new moon. For a few days before to a few days after each of these four dates, horseshoe crab spawning activity is likely to be at its peak intensity.

Individuals may report their observations on horseshoe crab spawning activity by visiting the Division?s website and accessing the form entitled ?Identification of Horseshoe Crab Spawning Habitat in the Inlets and Bays of New Jersey,? or by calling the toll free phone number 1-866-NJ-CATCH (1-866-652-2824). When calling, be sure to leave your name and telephone number so that someone can contact you to record your information.

All information received over the next few months will be analyzed, summarized, mapped and reported to the ASMFC and state regulatory agencies so that this critical habitat may be protected


[ 05-11-2004, 04:58 PM: Message edited by: NIGHTSTRIKES ]
 

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Piping plovers close the beaches now they will want a reason to close the DE Bay and the back bays! I wont give them any info!!! Although I have come by some mating horseshoe crabs in a creek behind WWC.
 

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Originally posted by Fish4Life:
Piping plovers close the beaches now they will want a reason to close the DE Bay and the back bays!
Could not be more true Fish4Life. In Strathmere they took away the July 4th fireworks probably about five years ago because they said that the fireworks were disturbing the birds. I love nature and all, but give me a break. I am not saying anything about where the horseshoe crabs mate.
 

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Agreed. I emailed them and stated that their crazy. While fishermen are, for the most part, conservationists the NJDEP has lost our trust. And its ashamed because we could play and important role in situations such as this (giving accurate area reports on a number of issues/critters). The problem is finding a way to conserve while not restricting access. Places that have been accessible should remain so and would somebody please tell me when we ever get beaches back? When do these efforts ever pay off?
 

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The state of new jersey is so screwed up on this subject, I have been to so many meetings where the fishermen have discredited all the biologist info over and over, it is a absolute joke. The bird are dying YES I agree , but the reason I believe is a virus. What they want is a large group of people who do not know where to look for crabs, then they will say the crabs are endangered because some BIRDWATCHER can not find any crabs because they look in the wrong spots at the wrong time, after that they will again blame the hardworking fishermen. I am all for conservation, but this is ridiculas. They have even suggested closing down all the beahes along Deleware Bay and other places. I could go on and on about this.
 

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last night I pulled in a couple that were having a romantic cruise through the back in OC. untangled my rig and let them resume their evening. They're sure gettin' alot more action than I am anymore.
 

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I went on the site and filled out a report.
 
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