08/02/2017 13:32 EDT | Updated 08/02/2017 13:40 EDT

Decline in numbers of baby lobsters prompts rules talk

PORTLAND, Maine — Interstate fishing regulators say the way the lobster fishery is managed needs to be fine-tuned because of a drop in the number of baby lobsters in New England waters.

The American lobster fishery is based in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank regions, which stretch from Canada to Massachusetts. University of Maine marine scientist Rick Wahle (WAHL'-ee) has said the population of baby lobsters appears to be declining in parts of those areas.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission said Wednesday it's beginning a push to protect lobsters by developing more consistent management measures for the fishery.

Wahle's American Lobster Settlement Index shows monitoring sites from New Brunswick to Cape Cod have some of the lowest levels since the late 1990s or early 2000s.