I was honored she Cherilyn Jose asked if I could do a guest post for her, but not too shy that I didn’t ask her to reciprocate (I love the information she puts out there on her blog so I thought it was worth a chance!). She kindly did so, and am I ever thrilled! Here’s a bit of background on her and some prose on a favorite West coast species of her’s – the Dungeness crab.
Cherilyn Jose blogs at Ocean of Hope: Marine Animals Voice Their Wishes. She is a marine biologist, writer, and nature and underwater photographer. She is also an avid SCUBA diver and home aquarist. She asked me to do a post for her, but I told her … “only if you reciprocate”, and she kindly did so!
Help! It’s Dungeness crab (pictured right) season here off of California, Oregon, and Washington. California’s crab season runs from November to June. Unlike many other ocean species that are in decline due to overfishing, Dungeness crabs are not in short supply. It may be due to females producing up to two million eggs at a time. I passed through 6 larval stages before becoming an adult and settling on the sandy or muddy seafloor.
The abundance of Dungeness crabs may also be due to my food preference, or lack thereof. I am a scavenger and I will eat, well, anything edible I come across. There is an increasing amount of plastic in the ocean, and I unfortunately can’t tell the difference between that and my real food sometimes. Plastic can be large like plastic grocery bags, or small like the microplastics that start at the bottom of the food chain and insidiously work themselves up into the bodies of top-level predators. Did you know that you carry several pounds of plastic in your body?
It is so tempting to get the “free” food from the crab traps and hoop nets, but I wouldn’t be alive today if I didn’t pass them up on a regular basis. It doesn’t help me that SCUBA divers are allowed to take us by hand while diving too.
Fortunately females are not allowed to be taken, as well as any crabs that are too small. Those crabs that are tossed back ensure another generation of crabs ends up on some human’s dinner plate. In the meantime, I’ll play the odds that I will survive another day past June-after all my lifespan can be up to 8 years!