Crabbing on Mecox Bay
A mouth-watering article in today’s NY Times extols the joys of eating Atlantic blue crab. Photos of cooked crab dishes accompany loving descriptions by John Willoughby and Chris Schlesinger of catching and cooking crabs every September in Massachusetts.
I’ve never gone crabbing myself, but I’m fascinated by the many crabbers who work this stretch of Mecox Bay on Long Island.
Mecox Bay’s crabbers encompass a wide variety of ages and ethnicities.
But the technique is pretty much always the same.
A raw chicken leg or neck is tied to a string and dropped into the shallow waters by the edge of the road.
The crabber waits patiently with a long-handled net at the ready to catch the crab after it has locked on to the chicken. Some people stand right in the water to wait for their prey. Most stay on shore.
Once the crab has been netted, it is dropped into a bucket or cooler to await its fate.
This entire stretch of road is so chicken-scented that Esau the dog doesn’t want to move past it. It’s also, sadly, often littered with styrofoam meat trays and stripped bones on strings.
There are restrictions on crabbing.
But I rather doubt they are closely followed.
Although you might not know it from photographs of cooked meat, Atlantic blue crabs are beautiful animals.
Earlier this month, I talked briefly with young scientists collecting crabs not for food but for research.
They used a trap as well as the standard tools of the trade.
They were trapping both blue and green crabs for an experiment to compare the mussel-eating habits of the two animals. All crabs would be kept without food for 24 hours, so that they were all hungry. They would then be given mussels and their consumption rate compared.
Watch this amazing little video, and you will see that crabs did not evolve their claws just so we humans could eat them.Explore posts in the same categories: 2012, Fall, In the Country, Seasons, Wildlife/Natural History comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.