In this Oct. 29, 2015, file photo, a cod to be auctioned sits on ice at the Portland Fish Exchange, in Portland, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

PORTLAND, Maine — The federal government is shutting down recreational cod fishing in a key fishing area off New England for several months.

[Maine fisheries]

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says possession of Gulf of Maine cod will be prohibited from Oct. 1 to April 30. The Gulf of Maine touches Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire and is a hotbed of a recreational and commercial fishing.

The Gulf of Maine once teemed with cod, but populations are much lower in the modern era and the fish is subject to tight regulations. Recreational fishermen are still allowed to possess one cod per day until Sept. 30.