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

The East Coast herring fishing industry will be almost completely shut down for the rest of the year.

Herring fishing is a major marine industry in New England, but the industry has had to contend with cuts in fishing quota in recent years. A scientific assessment in 2020 found that herring are overfished.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the fishing industry will be essentially shuttered until Dec. 31. The agency said that’s because it has projected that 95 percent of the year’s quota has been harvested as of Nov. 23.

Atlantic herring are economically important because they are a key bait fish. They’re a preferred bait for lobster harvesters. The nationwide catch of herring was more than 100 million pounds as recently as 2017, but it fell to less than 21 million last year.