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Apr 21, 2017 11:28 AM

Eel harvesters on track to hit quota for prized sushi source

The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The pace of Maine's season for baby eel fishing has intensified to the point where fishermen are on target to reach their quota.

Maine's baby eels, called elvers, are an important piece of the worldwide sushi market. They are raised to maturity by Asian aquaculture companies that use them as food.

Fishermen are only allowed to harvest elvers from rivers and streams for about 11 weeks a year. This year's season started slow, possibly due to the cold spring. But state fishing regulators say fishermen have now harvested about 40 percent of their nearly 10,000 pound quota.

The season ends June 7. The state says Maine elvers are selling for $1,366 per pound, which is slightly less than last year's price. Elvers sometimes sell for more than $2,000 per pound.

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