A recently passed bill will improve Maine elver harvesters’ chances of landing all of the state’s 9,688 pounds of quota. The changes come just in time for the 2016 elver season, which starts on March 22, 2016.
“Last year Maine left over 4,400 pounds of quota in the water,” said Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher. “That represents more than $9,600,000 in potential income that Maine harvesters could not access.
One provision within the law will eliminate the 48-hour closures each week while another will lengthen the season by a week.
“The 48-hour closures were established at a time when there was no limit on the amount harvesters could land,” said Commissioner Keliher. “Because this is now a quota based fishery, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s technical committee and eel management board voted unanimously to allow Maine to eliminate in-season closures.”
The new law will also provide an additional week of harvesting opportunity. Previously the season went from March 22 to May 31. This year it will last until June 7.
This season harvesters will also have an opportunity to choose their gear type rather than continue to use the type they were previously authorized to fish.
The new law also authorizes Commissioner Keliher to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with Maine’s tribes if they request a waiver of the requirement to allocate individual fishing quotas. The agreement would allow tribal members to fish under an overall tribal quota, rather than an individual quota.
source: Maine Department of Marine Resources