Herring are unloaded in Portland, Maine, Feb. 23, 2012. Credit: Pat Wellenbach | AP

Interstate fishing regulators say the quota is almost tapped out in one of the most productive herring fishing areas of the Northeast, and they’re shutting the fishery down for the rest of the month.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says 97 percent of the quota has been harvested from the inshore Gulf of Maine. The area includes coastal Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

The commission says the fishery will be shut down from Thursday morning until Sept. 30. Boats that harvest other species will also be allowed to possess no more than 2,000 pounds of herring per trip per day.

Herring is the source of a major fishery on the East Coast. The schooling fish is harvested for food, bait, oil and other uses. Recent assessments show the stock is in decline.

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