On December 18th, 2014, the Maine Department of Marine Resources Rockweed Working Group met to discuss locations that should be designated as "no-cut areas" where commercial harvest of Ascophyllum nodosum (known both as Knotted wrack and Rockweed - common names can be confusing...) will be prohibited.
Thirteen coastal and island field stations and marine labs submitted a brief letter to the working group requesting that the intertidal zone at their facilities be designated as no-cut areas in order to maintain the ecological integrity of the intertidal community and habitat. The only exception to this no-cut designation would be for removing seaweed biomass for scientific sampling as part of research or for educational activities. Rockweed plays an important part in the ecology of the intertidal because it helps improve water quality by removing nutrients and metals from the water column, it is a source of food for a variety of grazing mollusks and crustaceans, and it provides shelter from predation and desiccation for other organisms at low tide. The list of stations and labs, in addition to the Hurricane Island Foundation's Center for Science and Leadership, includes:
- Bowdoin College's Coastal Studies Center, (Orrs Island, Harpswell, ME)
- Roque Island Gardner Homestead Corporation & the Roque Island Archipelago (Roque Island, Anguilla Island, Double-Shot Islands, Lakeman’s Islands, Middle Island, Great Spruce Island, Little Spruce Island, Shag Ledge, Halifax Island, Eastern Brothers, Western Brothers, Pulpit Rock, and the intertidal ledges within the archipelago)
- Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park (Schoodic Point, Winter Harbor, ME)
- Cornell University & University of New Hampshire's Shoals Marine Lab (Isles of Shoals, NH/ME)
- University of New England Marine Science Center in Biddeford and Ram Island (Saco Bay, ME)
- National Audubon Society's Hog Island Audubon Camp (Muscongus Bay, ME)
- Suffolk University's R.S. Friedman Field Station (Cobscook Bay, ME)
- Eagle Hill Institute (Steuben, ME)
- Downeast Institute of Applied Marine Research & Education (Beals, ME)
- College of the Atlantic's Alice Eno Field Research Station (Great Duck Island, ME)
College of the Atlantic's Edward McC. Blair Marine Research Station (Mount Desert Rock, ME)
The University of Maine's Darling Marine Center (Walpole, ME)
This group of field stations and marine labs will provide boundaries of the areas that they would like to protect for education and research prior to the DMR working group's next meeting in January.