Regarding the Associated Press article you ran June 9 regarding the management of the seaweed harvest in the state of Maine (“Maine developing plan to manage rockweed”):

Twenty years ago, the rockweed and sea vegetable harvesters in Maine gathered for the first meeting of the Maine Seaweed Council; this active council has met monthly for each ensuing year.

Our concern was, in the wake of the collapse of the urchin fishery, the proper management of the rockweed and sea vegetable resource for both economic and environmental reasons.

Our concern continues to this day. Council membership includes local harvesters, domestic and international companies who engage in harvest, state regulators, seaweed researchers, and others concerned with the resource.

The bill to which your article refers mandates management plans for all fisheries, seaweed happening to be the first.

We welcome this, as it culminates our 20 years of vision, study, forethought and commitment to a sustainable harvest. The controlled and regulated harvest of rockweed is not a threat to the marine environment. Commercial harvest has been in practice for nearly 100 years in the North Atlantic, from France, through the British Isles, Iceland, Atlantic Canada, and coastal New England, with no measurable long-term impact on other species or fisheries.

Rockweed, and its harvest, may be the most researched species in our marine environment.

Responsible citizens have justifiable concerns regarding the sustainable harvest of any species of plant or animal.

The Maine Seaweed Council, after 20 years of active concern for the marine algae, is grateful to be involved in the development of a formal management plan that will embrace and answer these concerns.

Andy Bertocci of Yarmouth is the founding president of the Maine Seaweed Council.