By Chris Caesar
Two Massachusetts men were arrested on charges of possessing nearly 20 pounds of elvers without a license, authorities said Thursday.
"Joshua P. Medeiros, 30, of South Dartmouth, Mass., and Andrew P. Cournoyer, 43, of West Wareham, Mass., were arrested on Commercial Street in Portland around 2:30 p.m., said Sgt. Rob Beal of the Maine Marine Patrol. They had about 20 pounds of elvers that they were trying to sell. The elvers, which were kept in two coolers, had an estimated value of $8,000 to $12,000, Beal said."
Elvers, the tiny, translucent young of eels, are considered a delicacy in Asian cuisines. Maine experienced something of a “gold rush” for the creatures last year, after a Japanese tsunami destroyed a number of eel farms and pushed the price upwards of $1,800 to $2,000 a pound.
Most fishermen took home pay in the six-figure range during the state’s two-month harvesting season that year, though prices have stabilized to $400 to $650 a pound this season.