PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Fishing regulators are shutting down a chunk of the New England coast to herring fishing for most of the month of October.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says vessels in the Atlantic herring fishery cannot catch or possess the fish in the shuttered area from Oct. 1 to Oct. 28. The closed area stretches along a coastal area that runs from southern Maine to Cape Cod.

The fisheries commission says the decision is based on an analysis of samples of female herring in the area. The closure is related to spawning.

Atlantic herring constitute a major fishery on the East Coast. Fishermen typically catch more than 150 million pounds of the fish per year. They are used as bait for lobster and tuna and in frozen and canned food.

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