Six thousand baby horseshoe crabs are making their way in the waters near Cape May this weekend, thanks to a Rutgers University center that grows and releases them into the wild.
The New Jersey Aquaculture Innovation Center released the hatchlings, each tinier than a child’s fingernail, into the Cape May Canal on Friday.
The center has released 250,000 of the young crabs over the past two years.
It’s part of an effort to replenish the population of horseshoe crabs, which are under pressure from numerous sources.
But it’s also intended to spur economic development in southern New Jersey, where Delaware Bay is home to the largest horseshoe crab population.
The crabs’ blood is coveted by the pharmaceutical industry, which uses it to test for contamination in drugs and medical devices.