Maine's eels, on way to becoming sushi, having stronger year

PORTLAND, Maine – Maine’s money-making baby eel fishery is having a much stronger year as favourable weather has allowed fishermen to capture their quarry.

The eels are sold to Asian aquaculture companies and eventually become food, such as sushi. Maine has the only significant fishery for baby eels, called elvers, in the country.

The elvers sometimes sell for more than $2,000 per pound. But last year, fishermen caught less than 5,300 pounds of them. Fishermen have already caught more than that this year.

Republican state Rep. Jeffrey Pierce says he expects fishermen to catch their entire quota by the middle of May. The quota is a little less than 10,000 pounds. The season lasts until June 7.

Last year’s fishery was impeded by low temperatures and lingering winter weather.