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

Maine’s baby eel fishermen are hopeful for another year of high prices for the tiny fish as the season nears.

The fishing season for baby eels, which are called elvers, starts in about three weeks. They’re valuable because they’re sold to Asian aquaculture companies that raise them to maturity so they can be used as food.

Prices for elvers fell to $525 per pound in 2020 due to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They rebounded to more than $1,800 per pound last year.

Fishermen are able to harvest the elvers from March 22 until June 7 or whenever they hit the statewide quota. Maine is the only state in the country with a significant elver fishery.