New rules trying to stop alarming loss of Atlantic herring

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Interstate fishing managers have approved new protections for an important species of small fish that they hope will help reverse an alarming trend in the fish’s population.

An arm of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is implementing protections to help Atlantic herring, which are schooling fish that’re important commercially and a key part of the ocean’s food chain. They’re also important as lobster bait.

The panel says the changes mean the fishery will close in the inshore Gulf of Maine when a lower percentage of the population of herring is spawning, and the closures will last longer. The commission says changes are necessary because an assessment of the herring stock showed the population was down over the past five years.

States must implement the changes by Aug. 1.

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