New quotas on herring are forcing Maine lobstermen to look at new types of bait for their catch.
The new regulations, put into effect by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and the New England Fishery Management Council, are designed to protect the dwindling herring population.
James Sulikowski, Ph.D., professor in the School of Marine Programs, recently discussed the quotas with NBC Boston.
“We have to protect the adults that are spawning,” he said.
Lobstermen say the changes could reduce their herring haul by 75 percent.
Sulkowski said a herring collapse could disrupt an entire New England ocean ecosystem because the fish feed on so many other predators. He believes the herring numbers will improve once scientists figure out what is causing the decline.
“There are lots of different factors, from environmental change to predation,” he explained.