Emergency rules to stem lobster bait shortage take effect

PORTLAND, Maine – Maine’s emergency herring fishing rules are in effect in an attempt to abate a shortage of the fish, which is the most popular bait for lobster traps.

Fishermen aren’t catching herring on Georges Bank, a critical fishing area far off New England’s coast. Maine wants to prevent fishermen who fish closer to shore from reaching their quota too fast so as to ensure a steady supply of herring throughout summer.

The state’s emergency rules limit herring fishermen’s weekly catch to 600,000 pounds. The new rules went into effect Saturday.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says it will monitor herring catch in the coming weeks. The interstate regulatory board is sticking to rules it issued in April for herring fishermen who bring catch ashore in states other than Maine.