Final baby eel fishing numbers show strong season

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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) The final numbers for Maine's lucrative baby eel fishing season show fishermen in the state had a strong year harvesting the tiny, valuable fish.

Maine fishermen harvest baby eels, called elvers, for use in aquaculture. The season ended on June 7. The state said Monday the fishery was worth $20.1 million at the docks this year. That is the fourth-highest total in state history.

The elvers were worth $2,093 per pound this year. That's the third-highest figure on record. Fishermen smashed records last year with a value of $2,366 per pound.

The elvers are sold to Asian aquaculture companies to be raised to maturity.

A spokesman for the Maine Department of Marine Resources says the numbers will remain preliminary until an audit is completed after the end of the year.