New England’s Lobstermen face growing bait shortage

herring-1aThe state of Maine has implemented further restrictions on the amount of herring caught off its coast as New England faces a growing shortage of the fish, the top bait of lobstermen. Regulators and members of the fishing industry say the problem is that not enough herring are being caught on Georges Bank off Massachusetts. The Maine Department of Marine Resources instituted a weekly landing limit of 600,000 pounds of herring per boat to assure landings don’t cause a shortage in August. Both New Hampshire and Maine have always had regulations involving herring caught in the Atlantic Area 1A, but regulators say they fear a shortage could cause the herring fishery to close at the start of September. A typical harvest for an Area 1A Trimester goes from June 1 through Sept. 30. According to New Hampshire Fish & Game, almost 99 percent of Maine Area 1A herring is fished by Maine licensed vessels. The lack of bait is a problem for lobstering in all coastal New England states, but is hitting Maine hardest as it is the largest lobster fishing state in the country. Read the rest here 09:15