March 29, 2012

LePage signs law to raise elver fishing fines

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA — Maine Gov. Paul LePage has signed emergency legislation that increases fines for elver fishing violations.

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Fishermen last year received $891 per pound on average for elvers, with prices this year starting out at more than double that.

File photo/The Portland Press Herald

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The new law carries $2,000 fines for fishing without a license, tampering with elver fishing gear or using untagged gear, and it includes license suspensions for second offenses.

With fishermen receiving up to $2,000 a pound for baby American eels, Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher said the new law should act as a deterrent to illegal fishing activity.

Fishermen catch the eels in fine-mesh nets as they swim up rivers and streams each spring.

Fishermen last year received $891 per pound on average for their catch, with prices this year starting out at more than double that.

The new law also changes which days of the week fishermen are prohibited from fishing.

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