Policy: Environment & Energy

Maine introduces swipe cards for elver fishermen

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Photo - In this photo made Friday, April 4, 2014, fisherman Tim LaRochelle displays his new electronic swipe card for elver fishing in Portland, Maine, that permits him to catch elvers during the 2014 elver fishing season. Maine now requires its fishermen use the cards to record sales of the baby eels in its second most valuable fishing business, after lobstering. (AP Photo/Blake Davis)
In this photo made Friday, April 4, 2014, fisherman Tim LaRochelle displays his new electronic swipe card for elver fishing in Portland, Maine, that permits him to catch elvers during the 2014 elver fishing season. Maine now requires its fishermen use the cards to record sales of the baby eels in its second most valuable fishing business, after lobstering. (AP Photo/Blake Davis)
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PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine is one of two states now using electronic swipe cards to record sales and catches in its elver fisheries.

In the baby eel fishery best known for ballooned prices, marine resource officials say the new system is crucial to applying tighter regulations that include catch limits and rules to cut down on poaching.

The cards have magnetic strips encoded for each fisherman. Each transaction using the cards becomes part of the dealers' required daily reports in a process state officials say is far more efficient than the old method.

Alaska also uses the system, though fisheries departments have filed catches electronically for years.

Maine's elver fishing season opened Sunday.

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