March 24, 2013

Hearings next month on eel fishery rules

Three Maine hearings will be held in April on proposed catch regulations.

The Associated Press

PORTLAND — Regulators have scheduled hearings in Maine and other East Coast states to gather public comment on proposed regulations for the American eel fishery.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says three hearings will be held next month in Maine, where fishermen each spring catch baby eels known as elvers as they swim up rivers.

The fishery last year was worth $38 million, with fishermen averaging $2,000 a pound.

The proposed regulations are the result of a stock assessment that concluded the American eel population is technically depleted, likely due to a combination of overfishing, habitat loss, predation, environmental changes, disease, toxins and contaminants, food web alterations and turbine mortality.

The regulations would apply to glass, yellow and silver eels, which are all the same eel but at different life stages.

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