Seaweed harvests stir opposition Down East

Posted March 04, 2009, at 9:39 a.m.

PEMBROKE, Maine — Harvests of a seaweed that clings to rocks is stirring opposition and a call for a moratorium along the coast Down East.

A Canadian company has been harvesting rockweed in Cobscook Bay, which is also the site of commercial fisheries including scallops, clams and lobsters. Critics see rockweed harvests as a threat to a fragile habitat.

Robin Hadlock Seeley, a researcher for the Shoals Marine Laboratory of Cornell University, said the rockweed harvesting alters a habitat that’s important to other commercial fisheries.

Seeley and others have formed a coalition that wants a one- or two-year moratorium to stop industrial-scale harvesting of rockweed and figure out what regulations would make the most sense for Cobscook Bay.