PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The federal government is shutting down the harvest of an important species of fish for the rest of the year because of concerns about overfishing.
Fishermen from Maine to North Carolina commercially harvest Atlantic mackerel, which is used as food as well as bait. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it closed the fishery starting Oct. 15.
NOAA said the most recent assessment of the species found that it is overfished and the level of overfishing has increased slightly. The agency said it's implementing the new closure to slow down catch of the fish.
Fishermen have usually caught between 10 million and 20 million pounds of Atlantic mackerel per year in recent years. The most productive states are Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Maine.