Returning crabs back to their proper side will help reduce mortality from stranding. Help us reTURN the Favor to aid the Horseshoe Crab population and migratory shorebirds that rely on them for survival.
reTURN the Favor:
To save a stranded Horseshoe Crab, we ask that you follow these simple guidelines:
- Plan your outing around a falling or low tide.
- Hold crabs by their sides, not the tail – crabs are harmless!
- Gently place crabs on their feet pointing towards the water.
- Leave crabs where you find them – do not remove live or dead crabs from the beach.
- If you encounter shorebirds please do not disturb them – walk well away from flocks to allow them to feed and roost undisturbed.
- Do not enter into a closed beach unless you are on a sanctioned reTURN the Favor walk. To sign up visit: returnthefavornj.org.
- Ask for permission if you need to enter private property
- New Jersey has a moratorium on possession of Horseshoe Crabs, so please do not remove live or dead crabs from beaches.
- To protect shorebirds from human disturbance, several Delaware Bay beaches are closed from May 7 – June 7.
- Closed Delaware Bay beaches include: Money Island Beach, Fortescue Beach, Raybins Beach, Thompsons Beach, Moores Beach, Reeds Beach, Cooks Beach, Kimbles Beach, Pierces Point, Highs Beach, Rutgers Beach, Norburys Landing, Sunray Beach, and Villas Beach.
- Seasonally closed areas occur on Stone Harbor Point, 2 Mile Beach, and North Brigantine Natural Area to protect both migratory and breeding shorebirds.
Join a reTURN the Favor Walk:
Only sanctioned groups are allowed to rescue Horseshoe Crabs on closed beaches. To sign-up for a spring reTURN the Favor walk, please click here to register for a date and time.
Lead a reTURN the Favor Walk for us:
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be matched with a partner organization.
- Obtain approval to lead walks on an open or closed beach that needs your help.
- Consult with your partner to develop a schedule for your walks.
Provide a schedule of your walks and contact information. A minimum of 24 hours’ notice is required.
Pick up a permission letter and permit.
Conduct your own walks following reTURN the Favor protocol.
For more information, see the tools available on our resource toolkit page.