George Mowbray has spent the last seven crab seasons policing Bay Shore marina. He spends a lot of time picking up trash on the beach and calls for better garbage management, including lids and …
George Mowbray has spent the last seven crab seasons policing Bay Shore marina. He spends a lot of time picking up trash on the beach and calls for better garbage management, including lids and chains for garbage cans.
“I started picking up the garbage before it goes into the water,” Mowbray said, adding that he does this by virtue of doing the right thing.
But Mowbray cares more about the spider crab population here.
“Crabbers think they are a nuisance because they don’t eat them. And they bury them in the sand alive, they crush them, they throw them to the seagulls,” he said.
Spider crabs are bottom feeders. They clean the ocean floor, and that action is to the benefit of the other species in the shallow-water/coastal ecosystem.
“They are supposed to be on the bottom cleaning the bottom,” Mowbray said, who is a FDNY firefighter as well as a retired EMT. Mowbray said that on a daily basis, he finds buried or crushed spider crabs on the beach.
“I think it is totally and completely wrong. I have been pushing to try to get signs,” Mowbray said.
The Town of Islip currently has signs erected for blue-claw crabs indicating that crabs with bodies less than 4 and 1/2 inches wide must be thrown back. These signs are posted on the pilings on the docks at the marina.
Mowbray said he has requested a similar sign for the same location. Currently, there are signs below the railings at the beginning of the dock instructing those who catch spider crabs to throw them back, as opposed to killing them. Mowbray said the instructions for spider crabs should be as readily visible to those catching them as the blue-claw crab signs.
“I hate to see anything suffer and in pain,” he said. “To see this is disgusting, and I see it every day.”