AUGUSTA, Maine — Nine Maine residents will soon have a chance to join the state’s lucrative elver fishery.

Maine has the only significant fishery for baby eels, which are also called elvers.

The Department of Marine Resources will hold a lottery, starting at noon Thursday, January 16, for the right to apply for an elver license. 

The lottery will be available through 4:30 pm February 21, providing lottery winners the chance to apply for a license prior to the upcoming season, which starts March 22 and runs through June 7.

The lottery, authorized by the legislature in 2017, is available to Maine residents who are at least 15 years of age by the start of the 2020 season, and who are eligible to purchase an elver license in 2020 because they have not had their right to obtain an elver license suspended.

At the time the lottery was established, the legislature also set a cap of 425 state-issued licenses. The nine available licenses are the result of licenses that were not renewed in 2018 and 2019.

Each new license holder will receive a minimum of four pounds of quota, which is made available from individual quota associated with licenses that were not renewed.

Individuals can enter the lottery online at http://www.maine.gov/elverlottery.

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The Department is not accepting applications sent by mail however applicants may come to the DMR offices in Augusta to complete the application on paper. DMR will be accepting lottery applications between noon on January 16, 2020 and 4:30 pm on February 21, 2020.

DMR Offices will be closed Monday, January 20, 2020 and Monday, February 17, 2020 in observance of holidays, and will be unavailable for on those days for those who plan to submit paper applications at the DMR office.

Payment for anyone wishing to submit paper applications at the DMR office must be made with check, cash or money order. Payment for online applications must be made with a credit card or a debit card.

By law, each individual will be allowed to submit up to five applications at a cost of $35 per application. Those who submit applications online will incur an additional processing fee of $2 per application. $25 of the application fee will be deposited in the Eel and Elver Management Fund, which is used to research and manage the State's eel and elver resources, to enforce laws related to eels and elvers, and to cover the costs associated with determining eligibility for elver fishing licenses. By law, $10 is provided to the Department to fund Department costs associated with administering the lottery.

Anyone with questions about the lottery can contact the Maine Department of Marine Resources at 207-624-6550, Option 2.

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