The American eel along the Atlantic coastal areas is being reviewed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to take public comments on a draft addendum from the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for the American Eel.
The plan is for both commercial and recreational management options for yellow, glass – including elvers, and silver eels, it also calls to increase the monitoring for fisheries by state and outline methods to improve the habitat.
Members of the Passamaquoddy tribe and Gov. Paul LePage are expected to comment on the new elver licensing rules. The Passamaquoddy tribe has been issued more licenses than is allotted and the state is refusing to accept the additional licenses which has brought new problems facing the Legislation. It’s illegal to take elvers, and it has been switched from being a civil offense to becoming a criminal offense, which passed in April. The fine is $2,000, potential seizure of gear, and possibly jail time. The Maine Marine Patrol has issued summonses for members of the Passamaqouddy tribe who licenses that are over the state designated number.
The draft addendum is in response to a declining population of American eels from 2012 reports, the eels have been slowly decling for decades and have been depleting in Atlantic waters. The main reasons for the depletion of the American eels is caused by overfishing, habitat loss, turbine mortality, climate change impacts – rising temperatures and acidification — in the ocean and changes to the web of sea life.
I think that if there has been a noticeable decrease in the American eel population for decades the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission should have put new regulations into order a long time ago. Though the eels may not be endangered the population should be at sustainable levels if they’re going to continue to be harvested.