Maine: An Encyclopedia
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Elver Landings

Elvers are young eels. According to the Maine Department of Marine Resources, “After spawning, the adult eels die. The eggs hatch after several days and develop into a larval stage (leptocephalus) which is shaped like a willow leaf. The larvae drift in the ocean for several months and then enter the Gulf Stream current to be carried north toward the North American continent. As they approach the continental shelf, the larvae transform into miniature transparent eels called “glass eels.” As glass eels leave the open ocean, pass through the Gulf of Maine enter estuaries and ascend rivers, they are known as “elvers.”

Landings of elvers vary significantly from year to year.
Elver Landings 1994-2011

YEAR METRIC
TONS
POUNDS VALUE VALUE
(millions)
PRICE/LB
1994 3.33 7,347 $404,085 $0.40 $55.00
1995 7.53 16,599 $3,821,944 $3.82 $230.25
1996 4.62 10,179 $2,236,400 $2.24 $219.71
1997 3.34 7,360 $1,536,696 $1.54 $208.79
1998 6.51 14,361 $2,266,687 $2.27 $157.84
1999 1.63 3,593 $115,291 $0.12 $32.09
2000 0.3 655 $16,208 $0.02 $24.75
2001 0.77 1,687 $40,688 $0.04 $24.12
2002 4.38 9,654 $278,264 $0.28 $28.82
2003 1.51 3,325 $84,067 $0.08 $25.28
2004 0.58 1,282 $119,614 $0.12 $93.30
2005 2.48 5,476 $1,299,252 $1.30 $237.26
2006 3.16 6,967 $427,161 $0.43 $61.31
2007 1.68 3,714 $1,287,479 $1.29 $344.66
2008 3.15 6,951 $1,486,353 $1.49 $213.82
2009 2.36 5,199 $519,569 $0.52 $99.94
2010 1.43 3,158 $584,851 $0.58 $185.20
2011 3.89 8,585 $7,653,332 $7.65 $891.48

Sources: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/rm/eelelver/factsheet.htm; and http://www.maine.gov/dmr/commercialfishing/documents/elver.table_002.pdf (accessed December 4, 2012)

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