ROCKLAND, Maine, April 14 (UPI) -- A Maine man was charged with illegal possession of baby eels worth $22,100, a spokesman for the state's Department of Marine Resources said.
Marine Patrol Sgt. Robert Beal, who was on surveillance at a toll booth Tuesday, issued Dale A. Boyington, 36, of Rockland, a summons for the civil offense of possession of baby eels, also known as "elvers," without a Maine license, the Bangor (Maine) Daily News reported.
A marine patrol investigation led police to catch Boyington and issue the citation.
Boyington was driving a rental van packed with equipment for harvesting and transporting elvers, which are worth $2,000 per pound, the Daily News reported.
A bill to change elver fishing violations from a civil crime with a fine of as much as $2,000 to a criminal violation with more serious consequences is making its way through the state legislature.
"When an unlicensed person can make tens of thousands of dollars in one night and only faces a fine that amounts to a fraction of that, the deterrent is not there. This new law will change that," said Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher.