ELLSWORTH — With the arrival of the new year, the Department of Marine Resources will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, Jan. 17, on its proposed allocation of individual elver landings quotas for the 2018 season that begins March 22.
The total annual quota allocated to Maine by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is 9,688 pounds. Of that, 2,122 pounds will be allocated among Maine’s four federally recognized Indian tribes—1,356 pounds to the Passamaquoddy Tribe, 620 pounds to the Penobscot Nation, 107 pounds to the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and 39 pounds to the Aroostook Band of Micmac Indians — as required by a statute enacted by the Legislature in 2014. That leaves a total quota of 7,566 pounds available for fishermen licensed by DMR.
For many harvesters, individual quotas this year will be the same as they were in 2017. Harvesters whose 2017 quota allocation was less than 50 pounds will share equally any additional quota that would have been allocated to licenses that are not renewed, or are suspended, for 2018, reduced by the amount of quota allocated to winners of the lottery for new elver fishing licenses.
This will be the first lottery for elver licenses since 2013. Lottery winners, if any, will each receive a quota allocation of 4 pounds. The Legislature capped the number of licenses at 425 and, as of late last year, all but seven of the outstanding licenses had been renewed, according to DMR.
DMR has scheduled the hearing on quota allocation for 4 p.m. at the Marquardt Building in Augusta on Jan. 17, weather permitting. The make-up date is Jan. 18 at the same time and place. The deadline for written comments on the proposed quota allocation is Monday, Jan. 29.