A Maine man will serve two years of probation and pay a $5,000 fine for the role he played in a baby eel trafficking scheme.

The Bangor Daily News reports Scott Willey, 49, of Steuben was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Portland after pleading guilty in June. He was charged with illegally harvesting baby eels in Virginia and South Carolina and selling them to a Maine dealer.

Harvesting baby eels, which are called elvers, is legal only in Maine and one river in South Carolina. Authorities say Willey poached nearly 29 pounds of elvers, worth more than $58,000.

Elvers are sold to Asian aquaculture companies and raised for food. By weight, they are one of the most valuable aquatic species in America.

Willey did not return a call seeking comment.

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