Baby eels are big business!


I have many questions. Like, what the heck is an elver? It's just another name for a baby eel and it's one of the most lucrative wild fish species out there. According to a report on WMTW, Maine is the only state in the country with a considerable baby eel fishing industry and the prices are back up in Maine to make it lucrative again.

When the pandemic hit, prices for a pound of elvers (baby eels) went as low as $525 a pound. I know that still seems pretty high, but in comparison, the price right now is $2,114 a pound! And you thought lobster was expensive.

Getty Images/iStockphoto
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Why are these tiny little eels so expensive? What are they used for? Well, baby eels grow up to be big full-grown eels and those are used as food in the far east where they are highly valued. Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea culture and raise the baby eels to full-sized eels and then eat them. And demand is high! Fishermen were concerned that the war in Ukraine or more Covid lockdowns in Aisa would hurt demand, but that worry was unfounded.

You can harvest the elvers from late March to early June or until the quota has been filled. They have already fished over 80% of the quota for the season. There's no way they will be fishing until June. A report out this week showed that dealers have already purchased almost 8,000 pounds of elvers with the quota being 9,334.38 pounds. Which at the price right now puts the total catch at over $19,700,000! Almost 20 million dollars for baby eels! I wonder what tadpoles are going for?

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