As Elver Season Opens, Fishermen Hope For Year Free Of Poaching, Shutdowns

Mar 22, 2019

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine fishermen are taking to rivers and streams in the state to fish for baby eels in a high-stakes season they hope isn't interrupted by poaching concerns as it was a year ago.

Fishermen in Maine use nets to harvest baby eels, called elvers, to feed demand from Asian aquaculture companies, who use them as seed stock. They are one of the most valuable fisheries in the country on a per-pound basis, and were worth a record of more than $2,300 per pound last year.
 
The elver season began Friday. Last year's season was shut down two weeks early by state regulators after investigators found illegal sales had caused Maine to blow past its quota for the eels.

New controls on the fishery are expected to clamp down on clandestine sales.