Proposed Maine Elver Eel Lottery Would Keep Industry Viable

A proposal to create a new lottery system to allow people into Maine’s big-money baby eel fishery is the best way to keep the industry sustainable, some fishermen say. Baby eels are a prized resource in Maine, where they are fished from rivers and streams and sold to Asian aquaculture companies in countries such as China and South Korea. The baby eels, or elvers, can sell for more than $2,000 per pound. The eels eventually get raised to adulthood and turned into food, such as sushi, with some spanning the globe to come back to American restaurants. Right now, entry into the fishery is closed. A Maine trade group for elver fishermen is supporting a proposed state law that would allot new elver fishing permits via a lottery. The group’s president, Darrell Young, said members of the fishery are aging and the lottery system will let new people in. “We’re all getting older and eventually we’re going to pass away,” Young said. “As people die off or give up or whatever, there will be a drawing.” Read the story here 14:36