Elver Gold Rush Compares to Urchin Boom & Bust

Elvers, photo/Department of Environmental Conservation.

Bangor Daily News: Elvers, the spaghetti-thin transparent juvenile American eels, may be the most sought-after commercial marine species in Maine right now, but they are not the first to rocket to prominence due to demand in the Far East.

Sample dredged from seabed containing sea urchins. Whiting Bay, ME. Photo USGS: K. Kelly (Maine DMR), Sam Truesdell (UMaine).

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was sea urchins. The round, spiny, baseball-sized creatures are treasured in Japan and neighboring countries for their roe, which is considered a seafood delicacy. But in the late 1980s local stocks in the western Pacific Ocean began to wane. That’s when Asian seafood dealers discovered that Maine had plenty.

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