MA Eel Poaching a Concern

Elvers, photo/Department of Environmental Conservation.

CapeCodOnline: On April 11 at 2:30 in the morning, Sgt. Bob Brackett bumped down a long dirt road bordered by cranberry bogs and woods and pulled into the dirt parking lot of the Bells Neck Conservation Area. There were no other vehicles in the lot, but Brackett noticed 2 men standing alongside the concrete fish ladder that helps alewives climb upstream from the Herring River into the West Reservoir.

These were not high school revelers or even a couple of guys poaching alewives. The 2 men had dip nets and battery-powered bubbling aerators pumping oxygen into water-filled buckets. The tiny transparent eels, known as glass eels or elvers, which they were catching illegally, have recently become one of the most expensive delicacies in the world, with fish dealers paying more than $2,000 a pound.

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