In this July 8, 2015, file photo, herring are unloaded from a fishing boat in Rockland. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

New restrictions that will limit commercial herring fishing off New England took effect on Wednesday.

Atlantic herring are the source of a major East Coast fishery. They’re used as food and bait. Concerns about the size of the population motivated federal regulators to craft new rules about herring fishing.

The rules prohibit certain kinds of fishing in inshore federal waters from the border of the U.S. and Canada to the border of Rhode Island and Connecticut. The rules state they are designed to bring sustainability to the species.

Herring are important as bait for commercial lobster traps. Members of the lobster industry have said bait shortages have troubled the industry in recent years.

Members of the herring fishing industry have also said they are prepared for lean years in the immediate future as they navigate the new rules.