Audio Tour

Listen as Bruce Schimmel joins one team getting ready to track and count horseshoes as they are about to come ashore and spawn at Prime Hook Beach in Delaware.

The Horseshoe Survey

In 1990, the first organized survey of spawning horseshoe crabs in the Delaware Bay began. Now, every May and June during the full and new moon evening high tides, volunteers donate their time to count crabs on 18 key beaches throughout Delaware and New Jersey. Each of the four peak spawning tides are bracketed with a count two days before and two days after, bringing the total number of survey nights to twelve.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Horseshoe Crab Management Plan (adopted in October 1998) included a yearly spawning survey to be conducted along the shores of Delaware Bay. Since a Delaware Bay volunteer spawning survey has existed since 1990, the ASMFC opted to continue this volunteer-based survey, with additional statistical guidance from the United States Geological Service (USGS).

How can you join the survey?
Participation in a training workshop is required to distinguish between male and female horseshoe crabs and to learn proper data recording procedures. Volunteers under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

For more information on the Delaware Bay Horseshoe Crab Survey go to: http://www.horseshoecrabsurvey.com

In its efforts to promote horseshoe crab conservation in the Delaware Bay and around the world, ERDG has adopted Delaware's Prime Hook and Broadkill beaches for the yearly survey. If you would like to work specifically with ERDG on its adopted beaches, please contact us directly.