Lobster prices could go up in the coming months. Federal regulators have greatly reduced 2019 catch limits for lobster bait: Atlantic herring.
Last year, herring fishermen across the region could catch more than 110 million pounds of fish. But they're restricted to about 33 million pounds for the rest of this year. That’s a 70 percent reduction.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the decision comes as Atlantic Herring populations declined regularly during the last five years.
“So we hope by making the reductions this year, the cuts next year, won’t be as severe,” said NOAA spokeswoman Allison Ferreira. “I’m not sure what that means for next year yet. And I’m not sure that we can answer that question yet.”
Ferreira said the reductions should help the herring population bounce back.
“It’s not in dire straits by any means, but we’re trying to prevent it from getting to that point, by taking these reductions now. It’s the short term reduction, to hopefully have it down the road having the stocks being rebuilt, and be healthy.”
Ferreira says herring reductions will also impact mackerel fisheries, as herring is often accidentally caught in mackerel fishing.