This year Maine’s elver eel season opens late and comes with new rules and guidelines.

The Department of Marine Resources has reached an agreement with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission that sets the elver eel catch limit this year to 11-thousand 749 total pounds. 

That represents a 35 percent reduction in the state’s catch quota from last year.  Jeff Nichols says there’s a new system in place too to keep track of the harvest.

"We've implemented a swipe card system that will help us with the enforcement issues," states Nichols. "It's similar to a credit card and every licensed harvester in the state will be issued a swipe card and they have to use that in order to sell elvers, so that along with the individual fishing quota for everybody, will discourage poaching."

Five percent of the total quota will be withheld from the state’s allocation to ensure that the state does not exceed the overall quota.

Of the state’s overall quota, Maine’s four federally recognized tribes will receive 2-thousand 453 pounds after the five percent withholding. Each Tribe, Band or Nation will submit the individual allocations for their licensed harvesters to the department.

Nichols says letters are going out soon to the state’s some 436 non-tribal harvesters to inform them of their individual quota limits and details on how to get a swipe card.

The season opens April 6th at Noon.

For more information on the 2014 elver harvesting season click here.