June 13, 2013

Maine developing plan to manage rockweed harvest

By CLARKE CANFIELD, Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

In this undated handout photo provided by Source, Inc., a Gavin Hood uses a "truth pipe" to measure plants to make sure workers are meeting cut height restrictions of rock weed harvested on the Maine coast. All harvesters have to be licensed and are required to cut rockweed at least 16 inches above where it holds onto rocks, to allow the plants to survive and regenerate.

AP photo

click image to enlarge

In this undated handout photo provided by Source, Inc., a worker mechanically harvests rockweed near Cundy's Harbor. Rockweed is processed into fertilizer, animal feed supplements, food and other products with an estimated value of $20 million a year.

AP photo

More important, she said, rockweed is a vital part of the marine environment, but nobody fully knows how the harvest affects the ecosystem

"It's absolutely essential," she said. "It's too important to risk since we don't know how much you can take and still have a functioning intact ecosystem."

But others say more rockweed is lost to nature each year — through storms, ice scouring, degradation and the like — than is taken by harvesters.

Studies also show that rockweed regenerates fairly quickly, in two to four years, said Linda Mercer, director of the Bureau of Marine Science of the Department of Marine Resources. So while cutting rockweed might have short-term effects on marine life that depend on it for shelter and food, she said, things pretty much return to normal once the rockweed grows back.

"It's not like we're clear-cutting," she said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Summary

Date:6/9/2013 11:17 AM

Slug:BC-ME--Rockweed Harvesting,1st Ld-Writethru

Headline:Maine developing plan to manage rockweed harvest

Source:AP

Byline: CLARKE CANFIELD,Associated Press

Byline Title:Associated Press

Copyright Holder:AP

Priority:r (4)

With Photo:

Dateline:PORTLAND, Maine

Editors' Note:Eds: Updates with background on plan; quotes from critics, supporters; details of rockweed. With AP Photos.

Word Count:778

File Name (Transref):e0020

Editorial Type:Lead

AP Category:n

Format:bx

 

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