Horseshoe crabs are one of the most ancient of marine creatures; they have existed in essentially their current form for more than 400 million years. Each spring, they migrate from the depths to sandy beaches along the Atlantic coast to spawn and lay millions of eggs at the water's edge. These nutrient rich eggs are a boon to countless species and are one of the reasons horseshoe crabs are considered a cornerstone species in Long Island's coastal ecosystem. However, due to moratoriums and restrictions in other mid-Atlantic states, there have been more horseshoe crabs harvested in New York (i.e. Long Island) over the past 5 years than any other U.S. jurisdiction. Seatuck has been joining partners, such as the NY Department of Environmental Conservation and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, to 1) help gather good scientific information about the status of the region's horseshoe crab population, and 2) ensure that the fishery is well managed, regulations are thoroughly enforced and local crab populations are safeguarded.
Each spring, Seatuck conducts an annual survey of horseshoe crabs at Captree State Park. The survey runs around the new and full moons during May and June. Volunteer "citizen scientists" are welcome to particpate. Contact Seatuck's Peter Walsh for more information at 631-581-6908.