ST. SIMONS ISLAND, GA – Maine’s glass eel fishermen will have to reduce their landings next year by 25% to 40% compared to this year under an agreement negotiated with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). Furthermore, eel industry participants likely will have to use a new swipe card reporting system developed by the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) to better track landings and transactions.
As severe as this may seem, the alternatives were far worse. ASMFC’s American Eel Management Board had been presented with one option that would have allocated Maine a glass eel quota of just 5,233 pounds – a 71% reduction from the 18,253 pounds that Maine fishermen landed during the 2013 season. The 2013 catch was worth roughly $33 million.
A second option was even more extreme, resulting in a 3,501-pound allocation for Maine. South Carolina, the only other state with a glass eel fishery at present, would have received roughly 70 pounds under both …
Read the rest and much, much more in the December issue of Commercial Fisheries News. Read online immediately and download for future reference.