Science for Everyone

DMR's Rockweed Harvesting Working Group Meets to Designate No-Cut Areas

  Ascophyllum nodosum  is a common type of brown alga found on Hurricane. It is commonly found with the red alga epiphyte  Polysiphonia lanosa.

Ascophyllum nodosum is a common type of brown alga found on Hurricane. It is commonly found with the red alga epiphyte Polysiphonia lanosa.

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:

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.

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