5,000 apply for 4 elver licenses in Maine

AUGUSTA — Four Mainers have been given new licenses to fish for lucrative baby eels in the state's first elver license lottery since 2006.

The Department of Marine Resources said more than 5,000 people applied for the four available licenses, with residents from Poland, Searsport, Spruce Head and Swans Island winning the coveted licenses.

The lottery allows new entrants into the fishery for the first time since 2006, with licenses becoming available only when current license holders drop out of the fishery.

Elver prices skyrocketed during last spring's two-month season, with prices peaking at more than $2,600 a pound. Officials say last year's catch is estimated to be worth more than $40 million, making it Maine's second-most valuable fishery, behind only lobster.

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David Rossi's picture

In 2011 there were 399 elver

In 2011 there were 399 elver licences. If the $40 million figure for last year's catch is accurate it means a little over $100,000 per license holder for a 2 month long season. The state should issue more licenses with smaller limits per licensee. With that much short term income available it's no wonder so many people tried top get one of those licenses. If there were 2,000 licenses, each license holder could earn $20,000 in a 2 month season assuming the catch and price remain the same.


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