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Elver harvesters to see stricter regulations in 2019 season

The Maine Department of Marine Resources Advisory Committee voted to increase regulations for elver harvesters and exporters in Augusta on Wednesday.
Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine

AUGUSTA, Maine — Baby eels were the topic of discussion for the Maine Department of Marine Resources Advisory Committee on Wednesday in Augusta. The committee voted unanimously to increase regulations on the small, clear animal, also known as an elver. 

The regulations will require licensed exporters to notify Marine Patrol 48 hours before exporting. Marine patrol will also inspect the shipments, which allow them to keep track of the chain of possession for one of Maine's most valuable marine industries. 

"When have a species that has this much value, it is important that any loophole is closed and closed quickly, and that's what we've done here today," said DMR Commissioner Pat Keliher. 

According to the DMR, elvers can sell for more than $2000 per pound. 

"We want to make sure that it continues to run and it continues to run effectively within the eyes of the law, and I think what we did here today helps move us in that direction," added Keliher. 

The DMR also hopes this action will deter people from harvesting elvers illegally, since they will have a better knowledge of the eels that are being sold. 

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