Fishers Who Catch Baby Eels For $2,000 A Pound Hope For Years Of Fishing

"PORTLAND, Maine — They’re wriggly, they’re gross and they’re worth more than $2,000 a pound. And soon, fishermen might be able to catch thousands of pounds of them for years to come.

Baby eels, also called elvers, are likely the most valuable fish in the United States on a per-pound basis - worth orders of magnitude more money at the docks than lobsters, scallops or salmon. That’s because they’re vitally important to the worldwide supply chain for Japanese food.

The tiny fish, which weigh only a few grams, are harvested by fishermen using nets in rivers and streams. The only state in the country with a significant elver catch is Maine, where fishermen have voiced concerns in recent months about the possibility of a cut to the fishery’s strict quota system.

But an interstate regulatory board that controls the fishery has released a plan to potentially keep the elver quota at its current level of a little less than 10,000 pounds a year with no sunset date. Fishermen who have spent years touting the sustainability of the fishery are pulling for approval, said Darrell Young, a director of the Maine Elver Fishermen Association."

Patrick Whittle reports for the Associated Press March 14, 2024.

Source: AP, 03/18/2024