NOBLEBORO, Maine — The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and Maine Marine Patrol are investigating the theft of five pounds of elvers — just less than one gallon — worth approximately $10,000.
The juvenile American eels were stolen from a Nobleboro dealer the night of April 16. Elvers — an important part of Asian fish farming operations where they are raised to market size before being processed and packaged for sushi and other culinary purposes — are fetching around $2,000 per pound in Maine.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Gilbert responded on April 17 to Eastern Traders, where the manager reported that the elvers were stolen the previous night, Maj. Ken Mason of the sheriff’s office said Wednesday.
Mason said someone broke a window in the rear of the business and used a dipping net — the type used for elver fishing — to remove five pounds of elvers from the tank. The dealer only had five pounds in the tank at the time, Mason said.
The Maine Marine Patrol is investigating the burglary.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that elvers are sold to Japan and neighboring countries for their roe. Urchins are sold to Japan. Elvers are an important part of Asian fish farming operations where they are raised to market size before being processed and packaged for sushi and other culinary concoctions.