Could a Glass Eel Gold Rush Come to Connecticut?

May 13, 2014

Glass eels can sell for up to $800 a pound.

A bill headed to Governor Dannel Malloy's desk could establish a fishing season for glass eels in Connecticut. Glass eels are a juvenile species of the American eel, about as long as your pinky finger, and called "glass" because of their translucent skin.

Every year, eels swim up the east coast, working their way through rivers and tributaries. In recent years, worldwide shortages have prompted a glass gold rush. The eels can sell for up to $800 a pound. There have been efforts to list the species as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

Only two Atlantic coast states allow glass eel fishing: Maine and South Carolina. Kate Taylor, of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission -- an interstate compact put in place to manage migratory fish stocks -- is helping to consider modifying an interstate ban that's been in place since 1999. "This addendum that is under consideration," she said, "and will be going out for public comment, includes a number of options, including the ability for states to potentially open up their glass eel fishery."

The Connecticut bill would eliminate a $250 fine for taking glass eels from state waters, and would require the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to adopt regulations for glass eel fishing by June 2016.

The governor's spokesperson said Malloy will review the bill once it reaches his desk.