AUGUSTA – Federal fishery regulators are taking comments until the end of the month about planned changes to the rules they use to set catch limits for Atlantic herring.

Regulators say they are planning to change the rules to make sure herring aren’t overfished. The New England Fishery Management Council is working on an amendment designed to make sure future catch limits are based on “scientific uncertainty” and the status of the herring stock.

Regulators say the changes could be approved next year. The council is accepting comments until April 30.

Herring are important because they are sold as food and used as bait. They play a key role in the Atlantic Ocean food web. Maine and Massachusetts had by far the largest commercial Atlantic herring fisheries in the country in 2013.

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