AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine is now accepting applications for a place in next year’s baby eel fishing lottery.

Wednesday marks the first day the Maine Department of Marine Resources is accepting entries. The baby eels, also called elvers, are typically worth more than $1,000 per pound on the international aquaculture market.

The state is creating the lottery to try to get new people into the elver fishing business. The lottery is open to state residents who will be at least 15 by the start of the 2018 elver fishing season, which begins on March 22.

The state caps elver fishing licenses at 425. There are 418 currently eligible for renewal. If more people choose not to renew their license, more will be made available in the lottery.

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