Program Status Update
We are in the midst of a very exciting time for Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch! This spring, we trained coordinators for at least 10 new sampling areas during three training workshops and site visits. Folks at these sites have either started sampling and tagging or are beginning preliminary surveys necessary before the horseshoe crab tagging can start. By this time next year, we expect that there will be over 40 individual sampling locations from the Florida Keys to the Panhandle and on both coasts. We’ve come such a long way in just 3 short years! In 2015, we only had 5 survey spots in little ol’ Cedar Key! We owe the rapid expansion and smashing success of the program to all of YOU – our wonderful and committed volunteer corps.
Another major success came from Tiffany’s trip to the Atlantic States Fishery Management Council this winter. There, she presented and discussed the data collected by Florida Horseshoe Crab Watch with the council. For the first time ever, the federal stock assessment included data from Florida’s horseshoe crab populations! Stock assessments are the tools managers use to assess population sizes and trends. Horseshoe crab harvest limits are set based on those results. One of our primary goals was to have our data included in this assessment. This is a huge win for the program! Now our goal must be to maintain and improve the data we submit to state and federal managers in the future.
Spring 2018 Data Summary
Ok – now to the part everyone wants to see. The data! Click here to see a slideshow with all the charts and graphs your heart desires!
Volunteer Award Social
On May 4, 2018 we hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Social at the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station. At the social, Tiffany, Jane, and Savanna presented summaries of the data and presented several deserving volunteers with awards. The awards included the “Migrating Crab Award” for the volunteer who traveled the most miles, the “Unattached Crab Award” for the volunteer who sampled the most unique sites, and the “Most Resighted Award” for a volunteer who has been involved at a high level for multiple years and seasons.
A huge thanks goes out to all of the volunteers who were not able to join us at the social. This amazing program would not be possible without each and every one of you!