Crabbers beat river ban

Local backlash forces the U.S. Coast Guard to lift its control over part of the Umpqua River.

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After the U.S. Coast Guard implemented a rule keeping local crabbers out of a large portion of the Umpqua River, local backlash has forced the Coast Guard to drop its control.

The rule was established to make boating safer on the part of the river that meets the ocean. But locals argued that the rule had a negative effect on the local economy and tourism.

[Joel Abstetar of the Umpqua River Motor Lifeboat Station] said the purpose of the change was to make boating safer in the river, where broken-down boats could quickly be dragged out to breaking waves at the bar. The idea behind creating an extra mile or so of “buffer zone,” where certain vessels would be banned during rough days at the river mouth, was to give the Coast Guard more time to respond before boaters get into real danger, he said.

But local crabbers said the rule was unnecessary, given that it created a 2-mile-long swath from the ocean up the river. There’s already a mile-long “Regulated Navigation Area” that affects boaters now, and locals said that’s plenty of room for Coast Guard rescues.

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.

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