Fishermen squirm as decision looms on protection of American eel under Endangered Species Act

IndustriesAssociated Press

A decision about whether to list American eels under the Endangered Species Act is expected from federal authorities by the end of the month.

The California-based Council For Endangered Species Act Reliability wants the federal government to list the eels as threatened. A spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the decision will likely come toward the end of September.

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The petitioning group says the eels have lost more than 80 percent of their habitat and suffer from commercial fishing pressure.

The decision comes as the market for baby eels, called elvers, is booming. Maine elvers were worth more than $2,100 per pound in 2015 after being worth less than $100 per pound in 2009. Several other states have fisheries for older eels. They include Maryland and Delaware.