DMR calls Maine’s 2014 glass eel IFQ-swipe card fishery a ‘success’

HALLOWELL, ME – Despite lower landings and lower prices, Maine’s 2014 glass eel (elver) fishery, which came to an end on May 31, was deemed to be a “success” by fishery managers.

Elver season opened on April 6 – two weeks later than usual due to administrative issues – under an 11,749-pound hard quota, which reflected a 35% reduction from 2013 landings.

The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) allocated the poundage to fishermen through individual fishing quotas (IFQs) and implemented a new “swipe card” system to track landings.

As of early June, a few days following the fishery’s closure, preliminary reports indicated that harvesters had landed approximately 86% of the total quota and that 371 of the 887 “active” harvesters had reached their personal IFQ caps.

Fishing started off slowly, possibly due to lingering cold weather that slowed glass eel migration.  DMR noted that total landings could rise slightly once final reporting was completed.

Prices were down significantly this year, sometimes bringing in only half to even a third or less of the $2,000-per-pound peaks of the past couple years.

But confrontations and violations in the state also were down significantly.  According to the DMR, elver-related violations dropped from 371 during the 2013 season to 71 this season.  And, only 15 of those 71 were related to “unlicensed harvesting,” something that proved to be an enormous problem during 2013…


Read the rest and much, much more in the July issue of Commercial Fisheries News.

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