ELLSWORTH, Maine — Maine fishermen are nearing their quota for the spring harvest of baby eels.
Baby eels, called elvers, are used by Asian aquaculture companies so they can be raised to maturity to make sushi. Fishermen in Maine are allowed to harvest a little more than 9,600 pounds of elvers annually.
State records say fishermen have harvested more than 85 percent of quota. They’re getting more than $1,300 per pound at the dock for the elvers.
Elvers were worth more than $2,100 per pound in 2015. Maine elvers became in high demand several years ago because Asian and European supplies dried up. The fishery was worth less than $600,000 in 2010 and shot up to more than $40 million in 2012.
The quota and other controls have been put in place since.