Fishing practices that disturb the sea floor will soon be banned in a 38,000-square mile swath of the Atlantic Ocean in an effort to protect fragile East Coast coral reefs.

While the new rules will mean fishermen are catching less in coral zones, officials say the effort could grow fish populations, keeping customers from having to pay more for seafood.

In mid-June, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council voted to establish "deep sea coral zones" from waters off the northern North Carolina border through New York. Trawls, dredges, bottom long lines and traps would be prohibited in the protected area, which starts at about the 450-feet depth point and extends 200 miles out to sea.

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