PORTLAND, Maine — Officials said record high prices for immature eels on the world market prompted a number of Maine fishermen to seek the eels during the spring season despite threats of fines.

Immature eels, known as elvers, were fetching up to $1,200 per pound this spring.

Rusty Blake of Northeast Eel and Elver Co. in West Forks said people are willing to take chances when prices go from $250 to $1,200. He said some people can catch 8-10 pounds a night.

Lt. Jon Cornish of the Maine Marine Patrol told the Portland Press Herald about 100 summonses were issued for eel fishing violations, compared with about 20 last year.

Elvers hatch in the ocean and swim up freshwater rivers to mature. They are sold to aquaculture farms in Asia.