PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- Federal fishing regulators are set to vote on a proposal that could protect nearly 90 percent of the coral habitat in a key commercial fishing area off New England.
The New England Fishery Management Council is expected to vote on the proposal on Tuesday. The council approved protections in another key fishing area, the Gulf of Maine, in June.
The same council has held off on voting on protections for an area south of Georges Bank until it could get more information about how the protections would impact commercial fisheries.
The council could send a completed coral protection plan to the U.S. Department of Commerce for implementation if it makes a decision on Tuesday. Environmentalists and fishermen have debated the protections for several years.