Cape May Horseshoe Crab Life Cycle

Cape May, NJ- Horseshoe crab life cycle was a topic I was asked to cover at an event at the Aquaculture Innovation Center at Rutgers University last Friday. That’s a mouthful.

If you didn’t know it existed, it is tucked behind the Channel apartments just off Bayshore road, alongside the Cape May canal-in Lower Township.

This would be the first photo shoot I was assigned that felt big-league. Reporters and photographers from Philadelphia, Atlantic City and Cape May all seemed acutely interested in the Horseshoe Crab Enhancement Initiative.

Basically, this means  that thousands of teeny tiny baby horseshoe crabs like this,

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were scooped out of large tubs of water that looked like this, by staff like Sean Towers.

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Approximately 6000 of the horseshoe crabs were poured into many buckets.  Volunteers then carried the babys to the side of the canal led by center director Michael DeLuca.

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After the release of the 6000 baby horseshoe crabs, Michael Deluca explained to the volunteers and the media, the importance of the program.

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Using the Evernote ap on my Iphone, I was able to get quotes from Michael Deluca,  the senior associate director of the center.

“They’re important to us because they play such a vital role in the health of the bay and provide myriad benefits to the local fishing industry, migratory shorebirds population, and the state’s biomedical industry,” said Michael DeLuca.

“We really want to raise public awareness and engagement of the public in community restoration efforts as well as stock enhancement of the species in the Delaware Bay,” De Luca said.

Michael couldn’t predict how many of the crabs would survive.  Many of them would immediately burrow into the bottom of the canal. He also didn’t think that dredging operations would have an impact on the newly released crabs.

The eye-opening experience gave me a fresh appreciation for the work that goes into incubating and growing this species that ultimately I would be flipping over on Higbee beach in years to come.


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