ELLSWORTH — The Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) announced last Thursday that it had begun accepting applications for the elver gear and elver license lotteries for the 2013 elver season. Applications for both lotteries will remain open through Jan. 15, 2013. The Maine Lottery Commission will hold both drawings on Feb. 15.
Over the past few years, the demand for elvers increased significantly. As a result, the price of the juvenile eels has skyrocketed.
In 2010, Maine’s 400-plus licensed elver fishermen were paid an average of about $185 per pound for their catch. In 2011, the average price climbed to about $891 per pound.
This year, although DMR has not yet reduced final landings figures, the price of elvers ranged from about $2,100 on opening day to a high of $2,600. The value of the fishery that was worth about $585,000 two years ago is expected to top $40 million this year on landings of around 20,000 pounds.