April 3, 2013

Maine's small catch ready for star turn

The state's 400 licensed eel fishermen are being filmed for a show called 'Eel of Fortune.'

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Eel fisherman Mike Murphy, of Cundy's Harbor, inspects a 30-foot-long fyke net in Falmouth in March 2013. The state's 400 licensed eel fishermen are being filmed for a show called 'Eel of Fortune.'


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In this April 2012 file photo, Bruce Steeves uses a lantern while dip netting for elvers on a river in southern Maine.


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Maine's Department of Marine Resources, which regulates elver fishing, sees evidence of the drama.

The current season began on March 22. In the first week, there were at least 20 violations, mostly for fishing without a license or fishing too close to a dam with a fishway, said Lt. Jon Cornish of the department's office in Boothbay Harbor.

The department was notified that the TV crew would be in Maine but it is not involved beyond that, said Jeff Nichols, director of communications for the department. He said he did not know how long the TV crews would be in Maine, or where they would be.

Some elver-related drama happened this week Down East. Game wardens, marine resources staffers and state troopers were checking licenses of tribal Passamaquoddy fishermen in Pembroke on Sunday when about 60 other people showed up to support the fishermen.

The confrontation prompted Gov. Paul LePage to call Passamaquoddy leaders Monday to tell them not to give out more elver licenses than state limits allow, according to tribal officials.

The rift between the state and the Passamaquoddy Tribe has harvesters like LaRochelle worried that the regulations on elver licenses could get even tighter. That could make elver season even more dramatic.

Which, of course, would be perfect for reality TV.


Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:



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Additional Photos

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A handful of elvers are displayed by a buyer in Portland in April 2012. The baby eels are shipped to Asia where they will grow to adults and be sold as food.



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