Waterside etiquette needed
The hot days of summer draw folks to the water to swim, go boating or fish. Fishing and crabbing at local marinas seems to be on the uptick, especially when the activity reaps rewards—such as, for instance, dinner. However, there are some common rules of etiquette that should be observed at all times in order to keep local waters clean enough to be able to perpetuate the fun and often productive activity.
First and foremost, be mindful of where you put your garbage. As we all know, items such as plastic straws, utensils and Styrofoam cups are not biodegradable. If they are left uncontained on the dock or at the beach they are not only unsightly, but they won’t stay put for very long, eventually ending up in the water. That poses new risks to our already imperiled waterways. If necessary, the garbage should be packed up and taken home or anywhere else it can be disposed of properly.
Don’t take balloons to a waterfront area, even if they’re for a celebration. Balloons tend to slip up and away, and when they land it’s usually in the water or at least nearby. Deflated balloons could be mistaken as food by marine life and birds.
Spider crabs are carelessly discarded. These non-edible, more threatening-looking crustaceans tend to get caught in crab traps along with the desirable blue claws. Too many people who are crabbing remove them from the traps and rather than throw them back in the water, leave them on the dock to die, not realizing their important role in the ecosystem.
The common spider crab (Libinia emarginata) is a species belonging to the arthropod family and is related to blue-claw crabs, lobsters and shrimp. Spider crabs are scavengers that move slothfully at the bottom of the bay, eating just about anything they can find, including the dead remains of other marine life. In doing so, they help to keep the bay clean. Therefore, protecting them is a must!
Years ago, Islip Town posted signs at waterfront parks to alert people to the importance of the spider crab. According to one town resident though, those signs are now gone. Hopefully, they will be reposted soon.
Practicing waterfront etiquette is a reasonably easy thing to do. It’s common courtesy that shows respect for the environment, our wildlife and for each other, too.
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