The Elver fisherman of Maine have decided to join together and make our interest known in the State Capital
and in the halls of the United States Legislature.
A group of about 50 of us gathered and formed the Maine Elver Fisherman Association.
Darrell Young is a licenced Elver fisherman, founder of our organization and put together our first meeting. We are registered as nonprofit and we invite you to read our bylaws for more information.
Hopefully we can get more people involved and we hope that a great many of Maine Elver fisherman will join the cause.
We plan on attending several meetings including the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission meetings to discuss
statements made by them that the American eel population is depleted in U.S. waters. Our experience shows their
population in Maine seems to be healthy.
There are currently conciderations by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in listing the species under the federal
Endangered Species Act. This could result in a ban on all American eel fisheries. The fact that Maine licensed
fishermen caught nearly $38 million worth of elvers in 2012 and broke the previous record by more than $30 million
in itself provides a different view and we feel that in Maine It is not depleted and it is a positive factor in
our state economy.
Maine Elver fishermen earned nearly $900 per pound after demand spiked in Asia following the Japanese tsunami.
Last year, the average price continued to rise to nearly $2,000 per pound. Dealers are now offering fishermen
from $1,700 to $2,000 per pound for this seasons catch which runs from March 22 through May 31.
Currently there has only been a limited amount of scientific data collected about the juvenile eels that could
prove useful to future management efforts. Maine Elver fishermen can collect and provide bycatch information to
regulators and scientists and we would like to see more scientific studies on Elver igrations.
Jeffrey Pierce the executive director of The Alewife Harvesters of Maine has been named executive director of
the Elver fishermen group which shares many of the same interests as all river directed fisheries. Since the initial meeting
membership in the elver group has swelled to about 90 people and we hope to see it continue to grow.
Anyone is welcome to join and the annual membership is $250. The group intends to do what it can to discourage
illegal poaching which has increased since the per pound price has soared but the main importance to our group is to
promote sustainable management of the species. Many of the Elver fisherman also have licenses for harvesting
American eels during their later life stages but to promote ongoing protection of the species the consideration of
eliminating those fisheries in Maine should be evaluated.