The U.S. Coast Guard came to the assistance of two fishing vessels, helping to save a total catch of 35 tons of shrimp from spoiling Wednesday.

Coast Guard Sector Columbia River received distress calls from the crews of the fishing vessels Granada and Cap Elza near Tillamook Bay and Depoe Bay respectively.

Both crews reported their vessels had become disabled with a large catch of shrimp aboard.

Motor lifeboat crews from Coast Guard Station Tillamook Bay and Coast Guard Station Depoe Bay were dispatched to assist the vessels and tow them safely to shore.

The crew of the Granada was taken to Garibaldi, with 10 tons of shrimp aboard and the crew of the Cap Elza was taken to Newport, with 25 tons of shrimp aboard after their tow was transferred to a crew from Coast Guard Station Yaquina Bay.

"The commercial fishing industry is a vital part of our regional economy and maritime traditions," said Capt. Bruce Jones, Sector Columbia River commander.

"While the Coast Guard is committed to maintaining its readiness to respond to vessels in distress, we continue to focus on preventing mishaps through robust, responsible vessel maintenance and safety practices. 

"We are fortunate that yesterday's incidents occurred in calm weather and neither the Coast Guard nor fishing vessels crews were put in danger while towing the disabled vessels across the Tillamook and Depoe Bay bars.  That is often not the case."

Coast Guard units along the Oregon coast towed 62 disabled fishing vessels in 2012.  The catches from these vessels serve an important economic role for the Pacific Northwest fishing industry, a $13 billion industry.

In the interest of safety, the Coast Guard offers free Commercial Fishing Vessel Training courses to instruct fishing vessel crews in damage control and vessel stability.