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Business and Economy

DMR Floats Proposed $500 Inspection Fee For Elver Exports

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Robert F. Bukaty
/
Associated Press file

The Maine Department of Marine Resources is setting quotas for the upcoming elver season at the same levels as last year. But the agency is also proposing to charge a new, $500 inspection fee every time an exporter wants to ship the lucrative eels beyond Maine’s borders.

DMR spokesman Jeff Nichols says the Legislature authorized the fees to defray state Marine Patrol costs for enforcing licensing and quota rules.

“It’s just a way to safeguard the chain of custody to ensure that there’s no potential illegally harvested elvers making their way into these shipments,” he says.

This year’s overall catch quota is 9,688 pounds. Last year, harvesters earned more than $20 million exporting the baby eels, mostly to buyers in Asia, where they are grown to full size for consumption.

Correction: Maine's overall catch quota for elvers is 9,688 pounds, not 19,376 pounds.