Maine elver fishery divides ASMFC; board postpones action to August

Maine elver fishery divides ASMFC;  board postpones action to August

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Faced with two opposing points of view for how to handle Maine’s lucrative elver fishery – shut it down completely or let it continue under “status quo” with better monitoring – the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) American Eel Management Board agreed on May 21 to take a step back and appoint a subcommittee to try to find some middle ground.

The options on the table were part of draft Addendum III to ASMFC’s interstate eel plan, which the board initiated last fall to reduce mortality on all life stages of eels – glass, yellow, and silver – after a 2012 benchmark stock assessment determined that the resource was “depleted” (see page 24 for eel life stages).

©Sam Murfitt photo Glass eels or elvers.

©Sam Murfitt photo
Glass eels or elvers.

The primary fishery targets yellow eels, which are mostly harvested in the Mid-Atlantic for use as bait in recreational fisheries.  But glass eels, also called elvers or “baby” eels, are the most valuable and are harvested for export to Asia as seed stock for aquaculture facilities and also considered in some cultures to be a gourmet food item.

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