BAR HARBOR, Maine — Area lobstermen could lose valuable fishing grounds if a federal proposal to close four areas of Gulf of Maine waters comes to fruition.

The New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) has drafted a plan that would close a span of 161 square miles offshore to commercial fishing in an effort to conserve deep-sea coral there.

Two of those areas, Mount Desert Rock in Lobster Management Zone B and Outer Schoodic Ridge in Lobster Management Zone A, are preferred fishing grounds for local fishermen when lobster head further offshore in the winter. The other proposed offshore closure areas lie in Jordan Basin and Lindenkohl Knoll to the south.

The Mount Desert Rock and Outer Schoodic Ridge areas are prime for lobster fishing, while Jordan Basin and Lindenkohl Knoll see a mix of groundfish, monkfish, pollock and lobster.

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