PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The federal government is shutting down scallop fishing in a key New England fishing area amid an ongoing conflict over the harvest of the valuable shellfish.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it will close the northern Gulf of Maine area at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. The agency says the total allowable catch for the area has been harvested.

Small boats have been in conflict with big boats in the area. The government maintains different rules for the small- and big-boat fisheries, though they work some of the same areas.

Small-boat fishermen say flawed management allows bigger boats to overfish scallops. Bigger boats say the two can co-exist.

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King and Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree say the move is a temporary fix and more work is needed.

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