SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine - Lobster fishermen will likely have to contend with another deep cut to the availability of bait next year.
Federal regulators have slashed the catch limits for Atlantic herring, which is an important source of bait for America's lucrative lobster fishery, over the past year. The New England Fishery Management Council voted Tuesday to again reduce catch limits, this time to a little more than 25 million pounds in 2020.
The cut would reduce the herring catch to its lowest level in decades, and less than a quarter of the 2017 total. The council's recommendation is subject to final approval by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Scientists say a below-average number of young herring are joining the population of the fish. Herring are important as food for whales and larger fish.