Maine elvers: will the party soon end?

ELLSWORTH — With harvesters pocketing as much as $2,600 for a pound of elvers last spring, fishing for the tiny, transparent juvenile eels was almost like panning for gold in a stream full of nuggets. But the gold rush may soon be over.

On Friday, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) announced that it would soon release a draft management plan that is likely to have a profound effect on the fishery for American eels, including elvers. In the worst case, the plan could even bring the commercial fishery to a halt.

Within the next two or three weeks, ASMFC plans to publish a “Draft Addendum III” to its Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American eels. Among other measures up for consideration, the draft will include an option to establish an overall, annual landings quota for elvers — also know as glass eels — or to impose a moratorium on their harvest.

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