- Associated Press - Monday, March 31, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - An elver fisherman has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for reporting only half his more than $700,000 in landings from 2012.

Danny Deraps, 43, of Ellsworth, was sentenced Friday under a plea agreement that also requires him to pay restitution and lose his 2014 fishing license.

Deraps has already repaid more than $25,000 toward his state income tax debt, according to the attorney general’s office.

Elvers are baby eels that ballooned in value in recent years to become the second most valuable fishery behind lobster. One pound of the toothpick-sized eels has gone for more than $2,000 per pound in recent years.

According to the attorney general’s office, Deraps earned $70,000 from lobster fishing the same year he underreported his catches.

As the April 6 start of the season approaches, Department of Marine Resources Comissioner Patrick Keliher said the case underscore the need for accurate fishing and sales reports.

“We take this very seriously and will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to ensure compliance,” he said in a statement.

This year is the first time Maine is requiring its elver fishermen to use electronic swipe cards the state says will reduce illegal sales, streamline reporting and prevent it from surpassing is yearly quota.

Phone calls to Deraps rang unanswered Monday.

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