- Associated Press - Thursday, October 27, 2016

BAR HARBOR, Maine (AP) - Interstate fishing regulators have decided to raise the amount of menhaden that fishermen can catch along the coast by to use as bait more than 6 percent.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission made the decision on Wednesday. Fishermen will be allowed to catch 200,000 metric tons of the little fish during the 2017 fishing year.

Menhaden are an important source of bait for commercial fishermen and they are also a critical piece of the ocean’s food web. They are also used to make dietary supplements.

The menhaden fishery is typically worth more than $100 million per year, and fishermen catch more than a billion pounds of the fish between inshore and offshore fisheries.

Some conservationist groups say they feel the quota increase was too generous and will hurt recreational fishermen.

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