A “gold rush” for Maine’s baby eel fishermen

From Reuters

May 31 marks the end of what has become a gold rush for a small group of Maine fisherman — the 10-week season for catching juvenile eels, known as elvers, whose price has increased nearly a hundredfold over the past decade.

Dealers in Maine are paying $2,300 a pound for the thread-like creatures – more than double last year’s price – and [George Forni of Sullivan, Maine] is so awash in cash from catching elvers and buying them from other fisherman on behalf of a dealer that he has ramped up his home security…

“All of a sudden it’s a gold mine. China wants them that bad, and we’re the only place that can get them,” said Forni, who spends the rest of the year cutting sod and plowing snow…

The eels he catches are flown to China or South Korea, where they will be raised for several years in fish farms, which need a constant supply of juveniles from the wild because eels do not reproduce in captivity.

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