HONG KONG'S shipping lanes are approaching chaos, the Marine Department warned yesterday as it promised a harsh crackdown on ships that broke the rules. The booming Chinese economy is bringing so many ships to Hong Kong that the Government has had to redraw the map of the harbour and buy extra patrol craft as round-the-clock ''traffic police''. The principal marine officer in the department's port services division, Barrie Hird, said a complete overhaul was the only way to avoid anarchy in the world's busiest port. ''Without this the situation would just get more chaotic,'' he said. Fishermen will be banned from fishing in a wide swathe of water between Ma Wan and Green Island. Instead, the water will be turned into a ''fairway'' where tighter international navigation standards will apply. The surrounding area will be turned into strictly demarcated anchorages to impose order on the hundreds of thousands of vessels arriving in Hong Kong every year. The move has been condemned by fishermen, who say it could put them out of business. The president of the Cheung Chau Fishermen's Welfare Promotion Association, To Kwong-biu, said several hundred fishermen from Ma Wan and Castle Peak fished in the area. ''The Hong Kong fishing area is limited already. If the fishing boats are small they cannot go too far away from their harbour, so they will not be able to fish anywhere else. The Hong Kong Government should give them some compensation.'' But Mr Hird said it was vital to keep large ships strictly segregated from the fleets of smaller craft operating in Hong Kong. ''The last time we lost a really major ship one of the contributing factors was that its movement was restricted by the tugs around it,'' he said. The number of ships visiting Hong Kong grew by 17 per cent last year.