Beach season at the Jersey Shore is upon us. While wandering the ocean or bay beaches, you may happen upon a horseshoe crab. We love horseshoe crabs and often write about their role in the ecology, for medicine, for commercial fishing and as a food supplier to migrating shorebirds.
reTURN the Favor, at reTURNthefavorNJ.org, is a collaborative effort that enables organized volunteer groups to save horseshoe crabs who are stranded on New Jersey’s seasonally closed and open beaches.
Their stated goals are to rescue stranded horseshoe crabs; Provide an organized way to rescue horseshoe crabs on New Jersey’s closed beaches; Increase awareness of horseshoe crabs, shorebirds and their management; and collect data and information on stranded crabs, potential hazards, and tagged crabs to aid in management and restoration.
You can certainly get involved with the group and their activities. And, if you happen upon a live crab who has been overturned,return the favor and turn it right side up!
To save a stranded Horseshoe Crab, they ask that you follow these simple guidelines:
- Plan your outing around a falling or low tide.
- Hold crabs by their sides, not the tail – crabs are harmless!
- Gently place crabs on their feet pointing towards the water.
- Leave crabs where you find them – do not remove live or dead crabs from the beach.
* New Jersey has a moratorium on possession of Horseshoe Crabs, so please do not remove live or dead crabs from beaches.
- If you encounter shorebirds please do not disturb them – walk well away from flocks to allow them to feed and roost undisturbed.
- Do not enter into a closed beach unless you are on a sanctioned reTURN the Favor walk. To sign up visit: returnthefavornj.org.
- Ask for permission if you need to enter private property