Sunday, July 14, 2019

We should dolphinitely scale back on the fish puns: First Week Fishing the Harbor

I spent my first week of SHSB working at Piers Park and on the Spectacle Island Cruise. At Piers Park, we conducted activities with kids including fishing, sailing, and fun outdoor games. Using fishing rods, crab traps, and minnow traps, we set also up touch tank exhibits for the kids to enjoy. On the Spectacle Island Cruise, I sign people in, directed them where to wait, and helped my team with other logistical details. Once we arrived at the beautiful island, we set up a fishing station on the pier as well as a sports activity section by the gazebo in the field. I was placed in the fishing group, where every 20 minutes, a new group of kids showed up for fishing instruction. The kids were impressive beginner fishers, and even managed to catch multiple kinds of crab and briefly hooked a larger striper fish.

The most exciting catch on Spectacle Island was a large green crab. These crabs grow up to 2 1/2 inches from front to back of their carapace, and their carapace is 3 inches wide. Their common habitats include rocky shores and jetties on mud banks, salt marshes, and in the rocks and seaweeds of tidal pools as juveniles. These crabs eat mussels, clams, snails, and worms. The green grab invaded eastern N. America in the early 19th century. Nearly 200 years later, in 1992, it was spotted in California.

Another fun find was the spider crab, which is the most popular crabs in New England. These crabs' carapace can grow up to 4 inches wide, and full-grown males can extend 9 inches from claw to claw. Their common habitats include rocky shores, harbors, eelgrass beds, and pilings. They feed on detritus and algae and cover themselves in marine materials to camouflage.  One interesting thing to note about these crabs is their lethargic behavior, making them largely unthreatening. We caught quite a few of these on Spectacle Island!

My first week of SHSB made me appreciate the nature and ecosystems of the Northeast. I look forward to going on on the water many more times throughout the summer and hopefully catching many interesting marine species. But for now, I am going to unwind, cook on the grill, and enjoy the fireworks on the Esplanade. Have a great weekend. 

Will Miller 

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