This year’s catch of elvers was valued nearly $3 million over the 2014 catch, but still a far cry from the record levels recorded in 2012.

The 2015 Maine elver harvest season, which ended May 31, recorded $11,389,864 for the season, significantly higher than 2014’s $8,474,302, according to updated data from the Maine Department of Marine Resources. In 2012, the catch of 21,000 pounds of baby eels was valued at $40.3 million.

Total pounds landed in 2015 were 5,242 compared to 9,688 in 2014.

The lower volume of landings was partially attributable to the weather. The cold spring slowed the migration of elvers and the lack of precipitation lowered water levels in streams and rivers, which complicated the catch, according to a release from the DMR. There are 920 active elver harvesters in the state.

The per pound average for elvers was $2,172 compared to $874 in 2014.

“This year’s harvest represents a success for Maine’s elver industry,” said Patrick Keliher, commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, in a release. “The swipe card system, which we unveiled last season, … provided the department with real time data on landings and value. We also implemented a dealer-to-dealer swipe card requirement and a new elver exporter license, both of which allowed us to more effectively account for elvers at all points in the chain of custody which is critical for the effective management of this resource.”

This year’s total quota, set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, was equal to the total landings in 2014 and will remain in place through 2017. The commission will next re-evaluate Maine’s quota in 2018.

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