Crabber Towboat Lane Project
Crabber Towboat Lane Agreements
Conflicts between ocean going tugs and crab gear have historically caused severe problems along the Pacific coast. Crab pots were fouling tugs and barges as they moved between coastal ports, and the loss of crab gear was a severe economic problem for fishermen. Repair costs for tugs with a fouled wheel averaged over $120,000 and involved substantial out-of-service time.
WSU Extension continues to lead and strengthen the critically important Commercial Crabber Towboat Lane project providing gear-free towlanes and designated fishing areas to reduce crab gear loss and vessel fouling problems. The designation of fishing-gear-free towlanes continues to dramatically reduce the loss of crab gear, and the fouling of tugs and barges. The agreement between towboaters and commercial crabbers enables the towboaters to have a clear place to operate while crabbers fishing areas are free of barge and tug traffic.
Steve Harbell, Marine Resources Agent, has authored and distributes the revised publication, “Towlane Charts, Cape Flattery to San Francisco: A Place to Tow/A Place to Fish, Year 2008 Edition”, which includes significant changes for charts covering the Columbia River area, Garibaldi, and Newport, Oregon with new towlanes further seaward to reduce conflicts in deeper water fishing grounds. Electronic formats of the 2007 Towlane Charts for Crabbers and Towboats - Cape Flattery to San Francisco are available in P-Sea WindPlot ©, Nobeltec©, and Maptech©.