In the midst of a bait shortage, Maine has closed down the fishery for lobstermen’s second-favorite type of bait after fishermen exceeded the state’s quota on pogies for the first time.

Despite anecdotal reports of strong lobster landings and prices this season, lobstermen have been struggling to find suitable bait to fill the bags used to lure lobster into their traps.

The offshore supply of fresh Atlantic herring, the go-to bait for most Maine lobstermen, has been in short supply, driving prices up as much 30 percent in late July, the Maine Lobstermen’s Association said. The shortage triggered near-shore fishing restrictions to try to stretch out the summer herring catch in hopes of keeping bait bags full as Maine’s lobster season hits its peak.

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