Moving Spawning Horseshoe Crabs



Last night at 10 p.m. I met a few friends and a group of people at Broadkill Beach to help Julie McCall.  We were there to help her move spawning horsehsoe crabs out of the way of the beach replenishment project.  The workers shut down the equipment for about two hours so the spawning horseshoe crabs can be moved to the finished side of the project.  If you saw the aerial shot in the fishing report that was taken last week it looks a lot different up close and personal.

horseshoe crabs spawning, broadkill beach,delaware bay dredging, beach replenishment, sussex county
Moving horseshoe crabs to the south side

Since then there is a huge berm at least seventeen feet tall followed by a beach that slopes towards the water.  Apparently the ides is for the water to finish sloping this beach naturally.  It was surreal to see this last night, it looked like something out of the old Road Warrior movie.  We split up into two groups and went about moving crabs.  We moved horseshoe crabs from the north side of the project to below the finished south side of the project.  The project managers were originally headed south with the project until it was realized more crabs show up to spawn on the south end so they switched and are now headed north towards California avenue.  By the way the sand is being pumped almost five miles to the beach. It is a huge undertaking running twenty-four hours a day in two twelve-hour shifts.


beach replenishment, broadkill beach, delaware bay dredging, hosreshoe crab spawning season, sand relocation, sussex county
North side of the project area, I am standing on the 17 foot berm
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The crabs were collected by one group and then transported in gators by the work crews.  We would then unload the gators on the south side to release the horseshoe crabs, two at a time.  After two and a half hours we moved close to four hundred horseshoe crabs.  The beach looked like a party when we were done and more were coming in from the bay.  There are a lot of horseshoe crabs spawning onBroadkill Beach.  I have to go back today just to see this project in the day light, the pictures I took last night don’t show the true size of this area.  The horseshoe crabs are numerous during the high tides and the up coming full moon their numbers will increase.  So far they have enough help but if they need more, I will let you know.

Horseshoe crabs in the back of the gator
Horseshoe crabs in the back of the gator

Every night they have to start an hour later so tonight will be around 11:15 p.m.   Sometimes it is a tough job trying to preserve nature.  From the looks of things that beach will be a nice gradual slope, after you hike over that seventeen foot berm.  One thing that is nice, you won’t have to wade a hundred yards to cast to deeper water.

Oh by the way lightning bugs are here, only reason I know is I hit one last night and there was a 3 inch glowing streak on my windshield, on the way into Broadkill Beach.


Fish on!!

Rich King

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