BELFAST — A Maine judge has found two men guilty of illegally fishing for lucrative baby eels.

A Belfast District Court judge on Tuesday found 41-year-old Ralph Fowler Jr. of Franklin and 49-year-old George Trundy of Hancock guilty of fishing for the eels, known as elvers, without a license on Goose River in Belfast. The men claimed they were fishing for smelts.

Fowler and Trundy were arrested in April on the same day that fishing for elvers without a license became a criminal offense in Maine.

WABI-TV reports that the men were fined $4,250 each but weren’t given any jail time.

Poaching has been a problem in Maine the past two years after elver prices skyrocketed to $2,000 a pound.


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