The Latest: Quota for lucrative baby eels to stay the same
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Latest on a decision about the quota for baby eel fishermen (all times local):
Fishermen will be allowed to catch the same amount of baby eels next year as they have for the past three years.
An arm of the regulatory Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission set the quota at a combined total of slightly less than 9,700 pounds of the elvers on Tuesday. Elvers are often worth more than $1,000 per pound and are one of the most valuable fisheries in the U.S. on a per-pound basis.
Maine is the only state in the country with a significant fishery for elvers, which are caught in rivers and streams in the spring. Some members of the industry say the species could withstand a higher quota. Scientists with the Atlantic States say more research would be needed before that could happen.
Maine fishermen could soon learn how many pounds of baby eels they’ll be able to catch next year for the worldwide sushi market.
An arm of the interstate Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is likely to vote Tuesday about the 2018 quota for baby eels, or elvers. Fishermen in Maine catch the elvers to sell to Asian aquaculture companies who raise them to maturity for use as food.
The elvers are usually worth more than $1,000 per pound, and Maine’s the only U.S. state with a significant fishery for them. Some eventually return to the U.S. for use in restaurants.
Fishermen have been allowed to catch a combined total of about 9,700 pounds of the elvers in recent years. A working group’s calling for that quota to hold next year.