In this June 14, 2021, file photo, pogies sit in a barrel aboard the Deja Vu II at CBS Lobster and Bait on Union Wharf in Portland. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Mainers have only until Sunday to fish for a popular lobster bait fish before the fishery closes for the season.

Fishermen hit their quotas for pogies back in June, but have been able on a limited basis since early July continue to catch up to 6,000 pounds of the fish a day, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Now even that limited catch will come to an end Sunday, raising concerns among lobstermen as they face additional pressures from high fuel costs and inflation, the Press Herald reported. After Sunday, only noncommercial fishermen will be allowed to catch up to 1,050 pounds a day.

Right now, Maine has 0.52 percent of the overall quota for the East Coast, just slightly above the 0.5 percent minimum quota that is available to every state in the region.

Last year, Maine fishermen hauled in an estimated 22 million pounds of pogies — or menhaden — worth about $9.5 million. That compares with 27 million pounds worth about $7 million in 2020, according to the Portland newspaper.

Pogies have become increasingly popular as other traditional bait fish like herring succumb to overfishing.

Despite the closure, a new proposal, released earlier this week, would open up more fishing in Maine. Minimum allocations could be done on a tiered scale based on harvests going back to 2009. The commission could also shift the time frame that allocations are based upon to more recent years, which would give Maine a boost because of its increased landings.

Under the latter option, Maine’s baseline allocation would go from 0.5 percent to almost 5 percent, allowing fishermen to add thousands of pounds of pogies to their haul without jumping through hoops needed to get more quota.

These changes aim to bridge the gap between present allocations and the reality of what fishermen are seeing along the coast.