- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A public hearing on a Maine plan to use a new lottery system to award baby eel fishing permits will likely take place later in February.

The hearing was originally scheduled to take place on Feb. 13, but was postponed by snow. Rep. Walter Kumiega, a Deer Isle Democrat, says the hearing will most likely take place on Feb. 27.

Baby eels, called elvers, are a major fishery in Maine. They are sold to Asian aquaculture companies to be raised to maturity and used in food products such as sushi. The eels are often worth more than $2,000 at the dock to fishermen.

The proposed lottery system would allow new fishermen into the fishery when others leave. Members of the industry say an aging workforce is a problem.

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