PORTLAND, Maine (CBS/AP) — The East Coast herring fishing industry will be almost completely shut down for the rest of the year.

Herring fishing is a major marine industry in New England, but the industry has had to contend with cuts in fishing quota in recent years. A scientific assessment in 2020 found that herring are overfished.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the fishing industry will be essentially shuttered until Dec. 31. The agency said that’s because it has projected that 95% of the year’s quota has been harvested as of Nov. 23.

NOAA explains on their website that herring fish are key fish bait.

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“The Atlantic herring fishery is extremely valuable to the economy in the Northeast United States. Herring are sold frozen, salted, or canned as sardines in both U.S. and international markets and provide affordable bait to fishermen targeting lobster, blue crab, and tuna,” says NOAA.

The nationwide catch of herring was more than 100 million pounds as recently as 2017, but it fell to less than 21 million last year.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)