Public Hearing On Eel Industry In Augusta 

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is looking to address what they say is a historic depletion of eels in U. S. waters.”The stock assessment declared the stock as depleted and in response recommended that management action was warranted in order to help improve the stock and reduce the overall mortality that’s occurred on American eel,” said Kate Taylor, Senior Fisheries Management Plan Coordinator for the ASMFC.New regulations are being considered.There are three types of American Eel: glass, yellow, and silver.Glass eel fisheries are only allowed in Maine and South Carolina.”We’re expecting and hoping to get an honest public comment on the proposed measures, so that when the board meets in three weeks in Alexandria, Virginia, we’ll get a flavor of what Maine fishermen think are the best options,” said Terry Stockwell, Director of External Affairs at the Maine Department of Marine Resource.Several members of the Maine elver fishing community are not convinced new regulations are needed.”With my catch increasing every year, it seems to fly in the face of you calling, and I’m talking about elvers, that you’re calling the eels depleted,” said John Candage from Blue Hill.Concerns were also brought up from those out-of-state.”I think there should be a single plan for managing the species up and down the east coast and not separate rules for separate states,” said Mettie Whipple, the Director of the Eel River Watershed Association in Plymouth, Massachusetts.”There’s not enough fisherman to fish every inlet in state water. Each state has its own unique eel fishery, so state flexibility must be a part of an Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission American Eel Plan, as they live in state waters, most of the time,” said Jeff Pierce, Executive Director of the Maine Outlook Fisherman Association.Comments from all hearings, as well as written comments submitted by May 2nd, will be taken under consideration as the final management options are decided.