Four licenses, 5,200 applicants for elvers

Four Mainers hit the jackpot this week when their names were chosen in a state lottery that won’t pay them any money – at least not yet.

The winners were notified Tuesday that they have been awarded licenses by the Maine Department of Marine Resources to use dip nets to fish for elvers – translucent baby eels that are roughly the size of a toothpick.

The fishermen stand to make a healthy profit when elver fishing season begins next month.

The Department of Marine Resources said the value of the elver fishery in 2012 was about $40 million, making it second in the state only to lobster.

“At certain times during the season, prices were running above $2,600 a pound,” said Deirdre Gilbert, the department’s director of state marine policy. “The year before, prices were about $900 a pound. The prices went through the roof in 2012.”

Gilbert said there are about 2,500 elvers in a pound, so each elver is worth about a dollar. A typical daily harvest can range from a half-pound to 2 pounds.

Read the full story at the Portland Press Herald>>

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