CAMDEN — Fisherman Tim Thompson of Friendship does not mind working in near pitch dark conditions on a misty night at the Camden Public Landing.

He also does not mind staying up until midnight to hunt his prey.

With a dipnet in his hands and a small, but powerful light on his headband, he searches the murky waters around a float for tiny, nearly transparent, squirming baby eels.

Baby eels called elvers fill a net in Camden. They can also net big money when sold to Asian aquaculture companies. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

The elver fishing season is upon us and fishermen have been gathering along the coast where saltwater meets rivers to capture the young eels. A pound of them is worth as much as $2,100, according to Thompson.

The eels are sold to Asian aquaculture businesses and grown to adulthood overseas.

Thompson said they are coming in from the ocean looking for the fresh water at the head of the harbor. He said he has seen them swim right up rocks from the coast.

He shines the light on the water, which draws them, and then scoops them with his net. Other fishermen leave nets set in the water and come back to check on their catches.

Most of the time Thompson makes his living off lobster, but he said he has maintained an elver fishing license since he was a boy.

He said he would be working the water until high tide, around midnight.

Elver fishing at the Camden Public Landing. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Working on the water at night in Camden. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Tim Thompson of Friendship reaches out to net a few elvers March 31 in Camden. Photo by Daniel Dunkle

Related Headlines