Maine Takes Aim at Elver Poachers

Elvers, photo/Department of Environmental Conservation.

Maine Public Broadcasting: Prices for elvers have gone up and down over the years, but they’ve never been as high as they are now. That’s thanks to the demand in Asia, where the juvenile eels are raised for the seafood industry.

Europe used to be a supplier, but that market was shut down due to overfishing. That leaves just a few hot spots left. In the U.S., Maine and South Carolina are the only two elver fisheries in the country. Sergeant Rene Cloutier is with the Maine Marine Patrol, which monitors rivers for poachers.

“I guess to put it in perspective, I was at a brook the other day, right in the middle of the day, and in 3 or 4 minutes, I probably saw 20, 25 elvers,” said Cloutier. “And last year, the year before, that wouldn’t have amounted to anything—I wouldn’t have even given that a second thought. But a person could have made 25 dollars there in 5 minutes.”

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Maine Publlic Broadcasting

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