Big tides, mild nights propel elver harvest



An elver buyer on Water Street in Ellsworth has an attractive offer for harvesters. PHOTO BY STEPHEN RAPPAPORT

An elver buyer on Water Street in Ellsworth has an attractive offer for harvesters.
PHOTO BY STEPHEN RAPPAPORT

ELLSWORTH — With a magnetic swipe card system now in place, the Department of Marine Resources is able to track elver landings — or at least sales by harvesters to dealers — more or less as they occur in real time.

On Friday, DMR released totals, current through 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, for all elver purchases reported by licensed dealers from DMR and tribally-licensed harvesters.

As of the cutoff time, fishermen had landed a total of 2,932.39 pounds of elvers since the season began on March 22. That represents just over 30 percent of the 9,688-pound annual quota for all harvesters set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

In the four days since the previous report, harvesters sold some 738 pounds of elvers to Maine dealers. Of that, harvesters licensed by DMR rather than by one of the state’s four recognized tribes landed 426.34 pounds. As of Tuesday morning, dealers were paying harvesters about $1,450 per pound for live elvers.

During the same period, Passamaquoddy fishermen landed 254.35 pounds of elvers, Penobscot harvesters landed 51.88 pounds, Maliseet fishermen have landed about .75 pounds and Micmac harvesters landed some 5.15 pounds.

With just about eight weeks left in a season that ends June 7, DMR-licensed fishermen have harvested about 27.5 percent of their total 7,566.3-pound quota, Passamaquoddy fishermen had harvested about 53 percent of their 1,563-pound quota, Maliseet fishermen have landed about 1.6 percent of their 106.6-pound quota and Micmac fishermen landed about 34 percent of their 38.8-pound quota.

Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. srappaport@ellsworthamerican.com

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