Coral in the northern Gulf of Maine. Credit: Courtesy of the Gulf of Maine Deep Sea Coral Science Team / Maine Public

New coral protections are scheduled to take effect in the waters off New England later this month.

The National Marine Fisheries Service has published new rules designed to protect corals on Georges Bank and in the Gulf of Maine. Those are two key commercial fishing areas off the New England coast.

The new protections take effect on July 26. One of the new rules establishes the Georges Bank Deep-Sea Coral Protection Area, which is located on the outer continental shelf in New England waters.

The rules prohibit certain kinds of commercial fishing gear in the Georges Bank area. It also establishes smaller coral protection and habitat research areas off New England.

Conservationists have said the new rules protect more than 25,000 square miles of deep-sea coral habitat.