PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Scientists will study northern New England's key lobster fishing areas in an attempt to protect the crustaceans from the kind of collapse they have experienced farther south.

Lobsters' populations have plummeted off of Connecticut, Rhode Island and the South Coast of Massachusetts.

Maine Department of Maine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher has called for research to help prevent a similar scenario off of his state.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's lobster management board voted on Monday to have its technical committee research the lobster stocks in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank. The two areas are critical to the lobster fishery.

The committee will look into a host of issues, including changes in the Gulf of Maine's ocean currents and how they could be affecting baby lobster growth.