Members of Maine's baby-eel fishing industry are expecting high prices for the fish this year because of a lack of the eels on the international market.
Maine's the only state in the United States with a significant fishery for baby eels, which are called elvers. The tiny, translucent eels are sold to Asian aquaculture companies to be raised to maturity for use as food. The eels sold for about $1,300 per pound last year and are already one of the most lucrative fisheries in the country on a per-pound basis.
State Rep. Jeffrey Pierce, a consultant to the elver fishery, says fishermen in Asia are seeing a poor harvest this year and European eel fisheries are cracking down on poaching. That means Maine's baby eels will be in higher demand.