Friday, March 30, 2012

Markets in Everything: Maine Eels for $2k/Pound

NY Times -- "The next two months will bring sleepless nights and high anxiety — and quite possibly an extraordinary windfall — for a small universe of people in Maine. They are the lucky few with licenses to catch elvers — young, tiny eels that look like cellophane noodles and by some accounts are fetching up to $2,200 per pound this spring. 

Maine is one of only two states, along with South Carolina, where elver fishing is still allowed. And with Asian demand especially high — last year’s tsunami curbed supply in Japan, and Europe has cracked down on exporting eels — a gold rush of sorts is on along the rivers and streams of coastal Maine. Since the season began last week, stories have abounded of people making a small fortune in an often hard-luck state."

HT: Dan Greller

15 Comments:

At 3/30/2012 10:07 AM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

If you are thinking about getting a license to net elvers, forget about it in Maine.

Before 2006, one could participate in an elver license lottery for a chance.

Since 2006, only those who have had an elvers license the previous year, can participate in the season.

 
At 3/30/2012 10:28 AM, Blogger LoneSnark said...

There has to be a way to use property rights to rationalize this industry. Why are states banning harvesting rather than selling off the rights to harvest? Then the participants will stop over-harvesting. All a ban is going to do is spawn poaching and drive the price up higher, destabilizing the industry in other states.

 
At 3/30/2012 11:52 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Would you eat an eel?

 
At 3/30/2012 12:02 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

eel is delicious.

you've never had unagi?

 
At 3/30/2012 12:33 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Eel is amazing.

 
At 3/30/2012 1:30 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"you've never had unagi?"...

Yes morganovich, many years ago in a town called Kosai...

I don't care how much soy and sweet sauce one uses on grilled eel its still tastes like bait...

 
At 3/30/2012 2:15 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

juandos-

i'm with jon.

BBQ eel is delicious, as are elver.

now whale, that is utterly disgusting no matter what you do to it. i have no idea wheat the japanese see in it.

texture like steak, tastes like mackerel. not a good combo.

 
At 3/30/2012 2:46 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"now whale, that is utterly disgusting no matter what you do to it. i have no idea wheat the japanese see in it"...

Only edible if driven by sheer desperation and maybe not even then morganovich...

 
At 3/30/2012 3:06 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I've never had BBQ eel. I had raw eel in a Korean restaurant in Beijing. You stun it with hot sauce and then suck it up.

 
At 3/30/2012 10:25 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

juandos-

the japanese seem to love whale and are willing to pay astronomical prices for it.

again, damned if i can figure out why and i will eat damn near anything, i had lithuanian grandparents and was raised on pickled herring (yum) and even like the oily fish like mackerel, but whale may be the nastiest thing i have ever eaten except perhaps jellyfish.

 
At 3/30/2012 11:08 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"pickled herring (yum)"...

Oh heck yeah morganovich!

I first had it in Norway when I was little kid and didn't know what to make of it...

Then for some reason a few years later I couldn't get enough of it and still can't...

Now mackerel, that's OK depending on how its preped...

Again it was Norway when I first had it...

My mom's uncle would slice the raw mackerel very thin (almost transparent) and lay it in a large pan who's bottom was covered with brine salt...

Then he'd stick that pan into the smoke house (something that's working year round north of the arctic circle) for a few days...

When its done it some damn fine munchies but quite rich...

Whale though, I only tried it once the way the aleuts prep it...

Smelled real bad and tasted worse...

Personally I think the upholstery in my van would make better eating...

 
At 3/31/2012 3:54 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos: "Now mackerel, that's OK depending on how its preped.."

I prefer my mackerel ingested by a tuna, then discarded when the tuna is cleaned for me by the deckhands.

 
At 4/02/2012 7:55 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"I prefer my mackerel ingested by a tuna, then discarded when the tuna is cleaned for me by the deckhands"...

Yeah ron h I love me some good yellow fin & blue fin too...

Mackerel is probably an acquired taste and if one's first consumption of it was a bit on the traumatic side then yeah, mackerel sucks...

What's your take on something like octopus or squid?

Personally I find that they taste and have the consistency of the eraser on the end of a pencil... Yeech!

 
At 4/02/2012 1:41 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Mackerel is probably an acquired taste and if one's first consumption of it was a bit on the traumatic side then yeah, mackerel sucks..."

I know I've had mackerel, but it's been a long time. My recollection is that it's a strong taste, which I don't mind, but there are so many fish I like better, that I see no reason to eat mackerel unless it's my best choice, which means I'm in a world of hurt in other ways.

"What's your take on something like octopus or squid?"

I love them, and don't mind the texture, which I find resembles a rubber band, more than an eraser. :)

I like cooked squid even better, as in calamari.

 
At 4/02/2012 2:01 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Juandos,

Funny fishing story: On my first albacore trip, one of the deck hands was aware it was my first, and decided to have some fun with me. When I caught my first fish, he informed me that is was cusomary to eat the heart of one's first albacore, which he proceeded to procure for me by reaching in through one of the gills, obviously unaware of who he was dealing with.

"Thanks.", I said, and after picking off some bits that didn't belong, I popped it in my mouth, and started chewing in a liesurely manner. This was certainly not what the deckhand expected, and a look of horror crept over his face, which was quickly turning green.

Needless to say, he didn't mess with me again.

 

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