April 1, 2013

Tribe, state at odds over Maine elvers licenses

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Marine Resources and Passamaquoddy's Pleasant Point tribe remain at odds over elvers licenses despite the intervention of Gov. Paul LePage.

click image to enlarge

In this April 2012 file photo, a handful of elvers are displayed by a buyer in Portland in April 2012. The Maine Department of Marine Resources and Passamaquoddy's Pleasant Point tribe remain at odds over elvers licenses despite the intervention of Gov. Paul LePage.

click image to enlarge

In this April 2012 file photo, John Moore of Freeport fishes for elvers in a Southern Maine river. The Maine Department of Marine Resources and Passamaquoddy's Pleasant Point tribe remain at odds over elvers licenses despite the intervention of Gov. Paul LePage.

Gabe Souza / Staff Photographer

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Officials say LePage called Chief Clayton Cleaves on Monday but was unable to persuade him to abide by state limits on the number of tribe-issued elver licenses.

Meanwhile, the Maine Marine Patrol has stepped up enforcement.

Elvers are baby eels that swim upriver each spring in Maine, and they represent a lucrative fishery. The value last year was $38 million, with fishermen averaging $2,000 a pound.

The tribe contends its fishermen account for only a fraction of overall catch and that the state doesn't have jurisdiction. The tribe has issued more than 500 licenses despite being allowed only 200 under state law.

 

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