Elver Fishery: Second Only to Lobster in Maine
The 2012 haul of elver landings across Maine is expected to yield over $40 million. That's five times the previous year's total, and is only behind lobster's $335 million in terms of a fishery's value in the state. That makes these tiny, undeveloped eels more valuable than clams, scallops, or shrimp. Down East first reported on rise of elvers in the March article written by Susan Hand Shetterly "The Incredible Edible Eel."
This surge in the state's industry is due mostly to the tsunami in Japan during March of 2011. Prior to that, in 2010, the average eel fisherman in Maine was getting $185 per pound of fish, and the total haul was $584,851. However, because of the devastation brought upon the fishery in Japan and the collapse of the market, elver fisherman were earning up to $2,600 a pound this past spring in Maine.
The official numbers are not out yet, but the catch is expected to be around 20,000 pounds, suggesting not only increased demand, but an increase in the volume of landings. The $40 million is still just a fraction when compared to the lobster industry, but if growth continues like this, Maine may have a new king of the fisheries.
(via Bangor Dily News)