PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - New protections for a species of threatened East Coast shark go into effect this week.

Dusky sharks range from Maine to Florida and are down to about 20 percent of their 1970s population off the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. They were once a common large coastal shark and a target of commercial fisheries.

The federal government is rolling out new protections for the shark this week, starting on June 5. One measure requires longline fishing vessels that target fish such as tuna and swordfish to take new precautions when they accidentally catch a dusky shark and release it.

The environmental group Oceana is suing the federal government for better protection of the sharks. The group contends the new rules to protect dusky sharks don't go far enough.