PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Regulators say the U.S.’s only significant fishery for baby eels will not be allowed to expand next year.
Maine fishermen seek the elvers in rivers and streams so they can be sold to Asian aquaculture companies. They often fetch more than $2,000 per pound, and the state is limited to a strict quota of less than 9,700 pounds per year.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission shot down a proposal to increase the quota by 20 percent on Wednesday. Members of the commission expressed concern about the stability of the American eel population and said they preferred a conservative approach.
Maine’s elver season takes places every spring. The elvers are eventually used to make Japanese food products that get exported all over the world.