During April and May only two states in the USA, Maine and South Carolina, are allowed to fish for elvers, the spawning done far away in the Sargasso Sea. The larval eel journey the Gulf Stream, with nourishment from marine snow, to the fresh water coastal region of Maine, far from their catadromous parents.
With a typical nightly catch of thirty pounds on average, this year elver eels are worth up to two thousand dollars per pound. Some elvers are exported from South Carolina to Asian aquacultural farms, grown to adult size and re-sold for sushi and other eel dishes. Who would have thought last year's devastating tsunami in Japan would help struggling fishermen from Maine?
Poachers posed such a threat this year that emergency legislation was signed, upping penalties for unlicensed elver fishing, catching them prior to the season, and even meddling with other fishermen's nets.
Two days per week during the season, there is no elver fishing allowed. Are two sabbaths enough? Federal Fish and Wildlife Service will possibly add what is given yet another name in maturity, the American Eel, to its threatened or endangered list. For a sobering list of fish eating guidelines go here. For more complete details, Wikipedia has information at Anguillidae, as well as Eel Life History. For the soft-hearted and lovers of photographs, The American Eel, an Endangered Species? Once you see the eyes of elvers, their translucent silvery bodies and tiniest of hearts, you may decide not to eat eel ever again or if you do, pause and pay homage to the small travelers.