Federal regulators will hear from Maine elver fishermen and state fisheries officials Monday in two public hearings that will help the government develop a plan to preserve one of Maine’s most valuable fisheries at a time of global concern over depleted eel populations.
The hearings in Hallowell and Brewer will be held by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which has the authority to set catch limits and establish other rules governing East Coast fisheries from Maine to Florida.
The panel will review its assessments of eel populations and harvests – frequently sore points among Maine’s elver fishermen. Commissioners also will provide an updated analysis of eel populations, with an eye toward fine-tuning management of the species at all stages of life, including glass (elvers), silver and yellow eels, said Kate Taylor, the commission’s senior fisheries management plan coordinator.
The commission’s plan for eel fisheries covers a wide range of potential management measures, “from maintaining the status quo to closure of the fishery and many options in between,” Taylor said.