AUGUSTA — A key committee of the Maine Legislature says it’s time for the state to institute a lottery system to bring new people into the baby eel fishery.

The Committee on Marine Resource voted Tuesday in favor of creation of the lottery system, which will provide permits to fish for baby eels, also called elvers.

The fishery is closed to new people. Fishermen have made the case that many industry members are older, so there needs to be a system in place to get new faces into the business.

The elvers are part of the worldwide sushi supply chain and can sell for more than $2,000 per pound at docks. Asian aquaculture companies raise them to maturity so they can be used as food.

The proposal now goes to the full Legislature for consideration.

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