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Plan to Create Baby Eel Fishing Lottery Up for Vote

AUGUSTA, Maine  — A plan to create a lottery system to allow new people into Maine's lucrative baby eel fishery is up for a key legislative committee vote.

State lawmakers are considering starting a lottery system to replace fishermen who leave the elver fishery. The baby eels are fished from rivers and streams to be sold to Asian aquaculture companies so they can be used as food.

Both lawmakers and industry members have spoken out in favor of the rule change so far. It will come up for a potential vote before the Committee on Marine Resources on Wednesday afternoon.

The fishery is currently closed to new people. Fishermen say some kind of mechanism is needed to replace people who retire or die, because many industry members are older than 50.