ELLSWORTH — The 2016 elver fishing season closed June 6, and by most accounts, it was a good one.
The Department of Marine Resources reported that, as of 5 p.m. that day, fishermen had harvested a little more than 9,328 pounds of the precious juvenile eels and sold them for $13,385,245, an average price of $1,435 per pound, during the 12-week season that began March 22. That’s a considerable improvement over last year’s results.
The elver fishery operates under a statewide 9,688-pound landings quota set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Of that, the DMR allocates a little over 7,566 pounds among harvesters licensed by the state. The balance, about 2,122 pounds, is allocated among Maine’s four recognized Indian tribes to be further allocated by the tribal governments.
According to the DMR, at the season’s end, DMR-licensed harvesters landed all but about 370 pounds of their quota.
Members of the Maliseet Band left about 35 pounds of their approximately 107-pound quota in the water. Members of the Micmac Tribe harvested all but 3 pounds of their 39-pound quota, while Penobscot fishermen landed all but 24 pounds of the tribe’s 620-pound quota.
Fishermen from the Passamaquoddy Tribe overfished their 1,356-pound quota by about 72 pounds. The overage will be deducted from the tribe’s quota for 2017.