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East Coast panel: American eel population remains depleted

October 20, 2017

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Interstate fishing regulators on the East Coast say the population of American eels remains depleted.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission made the statement on Thursday based on a scientific update of the eel stock. Eels are fished commercially on the East Coast, with baby eels among the most valuable marine resources in the country.

The commission says eels experienced large declines during the 1980s and early ’90s before stabilizing from the mid-’90s to the present day. But the stock remains depleted, and it can’t be determined if they are subject to overfishing.

Most eels that are fished are immature adults. Only Maine has a significant fishery for baby eels, called elvers, and they are used as seed stock for aquaculture operations in Asia.

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