May 21, 2013

Regulators vote on rules for Maine's eel fishery

The Associated Press

PORTLAND — Regulators are deciding how best to regulate Maine's lucrative American eel fishery.

The eel management board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is voting Tuesday on proposed new regulations. The three options are to keep the status quo, close the fishery or set a catch quota.

The vote is being held at the commission's spring meeting in Alexandria, Va.

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, environmental changes and other factors.

The regulations are especially important 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.

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