Three horseshoe crab tagging sessions are planned for this week on Belmar’s L Street Beach.

BELMAR, NJ — With the start of the monthlong horseshoe crab spawning season, Belmar’s L Street Beach is among several locations along the Shark River where these marine arthropods come ashore during this brief period of time.

In an effort to monitor population trends and movement of these crabs, the American Littoral Society and Shark River Cleanup Coalition are teaming up for the annual horseshoe crab tagging effort, which is open to community volunteers.

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Tagging sessions are scheduled on the following days on Belmar’s L Street beach, located along Route 35 near Maclearie Park.

  • Mon. May 28, 2018 - 7:15 p.m.        
  • Tues. May 29, 2018 - 7:45 p.m.        
  • Wed. May 30, 2018 - 8:45 p.m.        
  • Wed. June 13, 2018 - 7:30 p.m.        
  • Thurs. June 14, 2018 - 8:30 p.m.       
  • Fri. June 15, 2018 - 9:20 p.m.           

If tags remain after those sessions, the effort will continue on Wednesday, June 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, June 28 at 8 p.m. All data from the work will be provided to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The schedule for horseshoe crab tagging may change due to weather but participants are advised to be prepared to get wet, regardless of rain. They should also bring a change of change of clothes, flashlight and, if possible, a drill.

Also, some volunteers may be assigned a specific beach. Additional tagging sites include Memorial Park beach in Neptune City, several on South Riverside Drive in Shark River Hills, including the marina, Hillside Avenue in Shark River Hills and Heroy's Pond in Wall.

According to the Highlands-based American Littoral Society, the status of horseshoe crab populations along the Atlantic coast is poorly understood, but crabs continue to be harvested by fishermen and biomedical companies. Although horseshoe crab eggs may be abundant, a decline in the horseshoe crab population would severely impact migrating shorebird populations that depend on the eggs for survival.

The American Littoral Society is a member-supported, coastal conservation nonprofit group that promotes the study and conservation of marine life and habitat, protects the coast from harm and engages communities to do the same through work in education, advocacy and conservation.

For more information on becoming a tagging volunteer, contact Capt. Al Modjeski, habitat restoration director for the American Littoral Society, at 732-291-0055 or at alek@littoralsociety.org .

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