September 2018 - Crabbing and Delaware’s Economy

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Crabbing and Delaware's Economy

Late summer is the perfect time for enjoying steamed crabs, and keep in mind it’s not fall until Sept. 22! Although not as famously as in Maryland, blue crabs play an important part in Delaware’s culture as well. You may have gone crabbing yourself, from a boat or a dock, and you have almost definitely seen crabs for sale by the dozen or the bushel around Delaware. You can learn more about the importance of blue crabs to the state’s economy in this month’s Sea Talk.

Like other crab species, blue crabs have an interesting life cycle, going through several stages of development and two metamorphoses. When they emerge from eggs carried on female crabs’ abdomens, they are known as zoea and bear little resemblance to adult crabs. The zoea are swept to the ocean by currents. The zoea molt as they grow, eventually returning to estuaries like the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. You can learn more about the process, and see magnified images of zoea and megalops, the stage between zoea and adult crabs, at Under the Scope, a website built for educators and their students to learn more about zooplankton.

Photo by Lisa Tossey

Notable Dates:

3 – Labor Day — This holiday marks the start of the shore’s shoulder season, when the ocean is still warm, but the beaches aren’t crowded – the perfect time to go beachcombing for natural treasures along Delaware’s coast.

8-16 – National Drive Electric Week — This nationwide celebration is aimed at increasing awareness of today’s widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars! There are events planned for both Newark and Milton, just northwest of our campus in Lewes.

15 – International Coastal Cleanup Day — Last year’s Delaware Coastal Cleanup drew 1,567 volunteers, who collected 3.8 tons of trash from 47 sites along Delaware’s shorelines and tributaries! Find out about unusual finds last year and sign up to volunteer this year at the Delaware Coastal Cleanup website.

22 – Volunteer Shell Bagging Day — The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is concluding National Estuaries Week with an event on the Wilmington Riverfront for volunteers to bag oyster shells from New Castle County restaurants for use in restoration projects, like building living shorelines. Learn more and sign up to volunteer.

28 - 29 – Delmarva Paddling Weekend — Get outdoors by participating in this Delaware Sea Grant-sponsored weekend! Delaware paddling experiences will be centered around the water trail towns of Milton and Laurel, where Delaware Sea Grant has been working with local partners to implement a community-driven redevelopment plan.

Minji Kong