News Archives

Counting Crabs

June 8, 2001

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Until recently, the horseshoe crab was considered to be little more than a pest. When they come ashore to spawn, many die, rot and ruin beaches. The Bay of the Delaware River has the greatest concentration of horseshoes in the world. Five years ago, the spawning dropped suddenly. States all along the Atlantic coast moved swiftly to protect the horseshoe, including limiting its catch. But scientists cannot say if enough has been done to help it recover because there is so little information about the horseshoe crab. Bruce Schimmel joined one team getting ready to track and count horseshoes as they are about to come ashore and spawn at Prime Hook Beach in Delaware.