PORTLAND, Maine — Interstate regulators approved a host of new rules in the Atlantic herring fishery in an attempt to avoid another bait shortage like the one that befell the lobster industry last year.

Herring are the most important bait for the lobster fishery, which is based in New England. Herring was frequently expensive and scarce last summer, and the shortage sent ripples through the lobster supply chain.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approved new rules Tuesday. The commission says the rules are intended to stabilize the rate of catch in the near-shore area of the Gulf of Maine, a critical fishing area for herring boats.

The new rules include a weekly limit on the amount of herring that some fishermen can bring to shore. The goal is to space out catch.