elver fishing

PORTLAND, Maine - Fishermen of baby eels in Maine have come close to topping a record for the value of the tiny fish.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

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.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public

More than 75 fishermen turned out in Brewer Wednesday for the first of two Maine hearings on proposed changes to the American eel fishery management plan.

The only significant state fishery for baby eels in the United States has blown past records for value as high demand from overseas aquaculture companies is driving prices to new heights.

Fishermen in Maine search for the eels, called elvers, in rivers and streams every spring so they can be sold to Asian aquaculture companies as seed stock. Fishermen have sold more than $20 million worth of the eels so far this season.

A Maine fisherman who played a key role in the rise of the state's baby eel fishery is awaiting sentencing for buying and selling the fish illegally.

Patty Wight / Maine Public/file

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's baby eel fishermen are on track to catch the entirety of their quota for the valuable fish after falling short in recent years.
 
The eels are sold to Asian aquaculture companies, and are part of the worldwide supply chain for Japanese food. Maine's the only U.S. state with a significant fishery for the eels, called elvers, and regulators limit them to 9,688 pounds per year.
 

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

Three more men were sentenced yesterday in the interstate baby eel poaching sting known as "Operation Broken Glass."

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

The price of elvers in the first few days of the season, is being reported as the highest ever for the fishery.

Maine has the only significant fishery for the young eels, also called elvers, in the country. The Elver season started Thursday March 22, and the Maine Department of Marine Resources is reporting they're currently selling for just over $2,800 a pound.

PORTLAND, Maine — Spring is in the air and baby eels are in the rivers. Or at least that's what Maine fishermen hope.

The state's big-money baby eel fishery is scheduled to get started on Thursday. Fishermen seek the eels, called elvers, in rivers and streams so they can be sold to Asian aquaculture companies as seed stock.

The elvers are frequently worth more than $1,000 per pound, and this year is expected to be especially lucrative because of supply issues elsewhere in the world. Maine is the only state in the U.S. with a significant elver fishery.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

PORTLAND, Maine - Fishermen from Maine are planning to use an interstate hearing to make the case they should be allowed to catch more baby eels.
 
Baby eels, called elvers, are worth more than $1,000 per pound at the docks in Maine because of the role they play in Asian aquaculture. Maine's the only state in the country with a significant fishery for elvers.
 

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press/file

The deadline to enter Maine's lottery for new elver fishing licenses is coming next Monday, Jan. 15.

Maine Department of Marine Resources spokesman Jeff Nichols says this year, there are 13 new licenses available for Maine residents who haven't had their eligibility suspended, and who are at least 15 years old.

"This is a nice opportunity for people to get into this - what is, by far, the most lucrative fishery we have on a per-pound basis," Nichols says.

In the last season, elvers were worth more than $1,300 per pound. Overall, the fishery brought in $13 million.

Wednesday is the first day that Maine is accepting applications for a place in next year’s baby eel fishing lottery.

The baby eels, known as elvers, are typically worth well over $1,000 per pound.

This will be the first lottery since 2013. Maine Department of Marine Resources spokesman Jeff Nichols says that’s when regional fisheries regulators capped Maine’s elver harvest, and the Legislature decided to stop issuing new licenses for the fishery.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A key committee of the Maine Legislature says it's time for the state to institute a lottery system to bring new people into the baby eel fishery.
 
The Committee on Marine Resource voted Tuesday in favor of creation of the lottery system, which will provide permits to fish for baby eels, also called elvers.
 
The fishery is closed to new people. Fishermen have made the case that many industry members are older, so there needs to be a system in place to get new faces into the business.
 

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine lawmakers put off a vote on a proposal to create a lottery system for permits to fish for baby eels, which are used in the global sushi market.
 
The Marine Resources Committee is considering creating such a system to replace fishermen who leave the elver fishery. The committee decided to table its vote on the issue on Wednesday.
 
The proposal appears to have the support of state leaders and members of the industry.
 

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.

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