- Associated Press - Monday, December 4, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The federal government is closing the public comment period on a plan to change the way it manages ocean habitat off of New England.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is looking to change the way it manages the Gulf of Maine, Georges Bank and southern New England waters. The three areas are critical for commercial fishing operations and marine animals such as whales and dolphins.

The fisheries service is collecting the last of the comments on Tuesday. It’s expected to issue a decision on the new rules by early January.

The new rules are likely to have major impacts on the way fishermen harvest important species such as clams, scallops, haddock and flounder. The fisheries service has been working on the new rules for about 13 years.

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