By Tom Hubka

WesCom Wire Service

After weeks of planning, crews started removing the tangled mass of crab pots and gear off Sporthaven Beach near Brookings last week.

The owner of the fishing vessel Chevelle and his crew removed many of the pots that had ended up just off the south jetty.

andquot;He got some equipment in there and got rid of half of it before the tides came back up,andquot; said Calum Stevenson, coastal coordinator for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, which is overseeing the removal of the pots.

The Curry Coastal Pilot's efforts to identify the boat owner were unsuccessful. Oregon state officials would not release the information.

In early December, the Chevelle nearly capsized in the Port of Brookings Harbor channel, spilling hundreds of crab pots into the water. Most were washed out to sea, the most notable being the 15 or so smashed together on the beach.

Crews could not remove all of the gear Thursday, leaving behind rope and assorted equipment.

andquot;They got rid of most of the dangerous stuff,andquot; Stevenson said. andquot;What's left that I could see is rope.andquot;

The Chevelle's owner, who is paying for the removal of the gear, will come back in mid-April when tides are again low enough to allow his workers to reach the pots.

The remaining gear poses a danger and that people should avoid it as they had the pots, Stevenson said.

andquot;There's still on the beach, and I'd still be concerned about people getting caught up in the rope,andquot; he said.