In this April 16, 2020, file photo, eel fishermen use dip nets while fishing by lantern light in Yarmouth. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

Maine’s baby eel fishermen had a productive year in the state’s rivers and streams, but the price for the eels was much lower than usual.

The fishing season for the eels, which are called elvers, ended on Sunday. Fishermen caught at least 9,650 pounds of the eels during a season in which they were limited to 9,688.

The elvers are valuable because they’re used as seed stock by Asian aquaculture companies that raise them to maturity for use as food. They were worth $525 a pound at the docks this year. That’s much more than most fish species, but a steep decline from last year’s average of $2,091.

Fishermen have blamed the lower price on the coronavirus outbreak, which has stressed supply chains and made it more difficult to sell the eels and ship them overseas. The eels are eventually used in Japanese food, some of which is sold in the U.S.