OLYMPIC PENINSULA, Wash. — Many eyes have been on the Quinault Indian Nation as it tests technology that could help dramatically improve rule enforcement in Washington’s $62 million commercial crab fishery.

Three Quinault fishermen have been using an electronic crab pot monitoring system to track gear use. This entails placing quarter-coin-sized radio frequency tags in their crab pot buoys over the summer and since November. As the pots were pulled aboard, they scanned the buoys in front of a sensor: “Basically like you’re scanning groceries at the store,” said Quinault fisherman Pete Wilson, who was one of the three participants in the pilot program. The sensor transmitted the identification number and the GPS location to a computer.

With every pot registered to only one owner, fishery managers hope this will be a simple way to track boat activity and gear use.

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