Poaching Constrains Supply of Elvers

Poaching Constrains Supply of Elvers

The supply chain of baby eels, called elvers, is facing tighter controls from Elver Fishery in Maine to Eel Dish in Japan.

The root cause? Illegal poaching.  A pound of elvers goes for more than a thousand dollars.

State law enforcement officers will oversee the weighing, packing and shipping of the eels to ensure elvers are legally harvested from participating fishermen within a quota of 9,688 pounds per fishery.


Video Spotlight: Poaching Threatens Maine’s Eel Fishing Industry


This post is based on the Washington Post article, New controls in Maine to prevent poaching of valuable eels, by Patrick Whittle, February 22, 2019, and the YouTube video, Poaching Threatens Maine’s Eel Fishing Industry, by AP, August 12, 2017. Image source:(c) Erica Simone Leeds

Discussion Questions:

1. Identify the unethical and illegal behaviors spotlighted in Maine’s baby eel supply chain.

Guidance: Examples of unethical and illegal behavior include poaching eels from rivers and streams, exporting poached eels to Asian aquaculture companies, exceeding eels quotas to profit from illegal sales, and tampering with eel shipments to bypass the state’s tracking system. Each of these behaviors is illegal, but student discussion can also focus on ethicality.

2. What steps are taken to guide ethical behavior and reduce illegal activity in the elver supply chain?

Guidance: Steps include designing tight controls to thwart poaching from Maine’s baby eel industry, requiring state law enforcement officers to oversee the packing and shipping of baby eels, and inspecting eel fishermen. These steps mainly focus on reduction of illegal activity; students could also brainstorm the root causes of unethical behaviors in this supply chain, and use the results to develop other suggestions.

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