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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Three men accused of together poaching and selling as much as $1 million worth of baby eels, called elvers, have been sentenced to a combination of probation and fines.

The Bangor Daily News reports the Thursday sentencing was part of a bust of an eel poaching ring that led to 21 men being prosecuted on charges of illegally catching, selling and transporting more than $5 million worth of elvers in nine East Coast states. Twelve of the men are from Maine.

Two of the men sentenced Thursday in Portland were from Massachusetts. The third lives in Maine.

Elvers can only be fished commercially in Maine and South Carolina and are one of the country’s most lucrative fisheries on a by-the-pound basis. They are sold to Asia for sushi.


Information from: Bangor Daily News,