December 20, 2013

Letter to the editor: Elver fishery could be loser in gluttonous competition

Here we go with another reality show featuring Mainers! “Animal Planet,” not the environmental advocates that I thought, is airing competitive elver fishing (“Maine elver fishermen to hunt prey on ‘Animal Planet,’ ” Dec. 18). Catch as many of the baby eels as you can. Catch more than the other teams and win! Win what?

Elver fishing already makes thousands of dollars for people. It’s a resource that can continue to supplement people’s incomes for years to come, if properly managed.

Didn’t we learn anything from the collapse of the lucrative urchin fishery industry? How about the closed shrimp fishery due to low shrimp populations? Granted, that has been attributed to warmer waters; however, these examples are real-life demonstrations of how a delicate balance can be upset.

Now “Animal Planet” is encouraging gluttonous fishing for the sake of competition. I hope that the winners remember the good old days when the elvers were plentiful. Even the winners will lose the day the elver season is closed or just disappears altogether.

Steven C. Pomelow



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