Maine’s seaweed harvesting community is comprised of two groups operating out of local waters, and constituting a small subset of the population. The first is the edible harvesters, who forage diverse species in small boats for personal use and sale to the health food market. The second is commercial rockweed harvesters who harvest much larger quantities of the single species rockweed for sale to commercial processors in Canada and Maine. A $20 million per year industry, according to the Department of Marine Resources and Maine Sea Grant.
Our explicit goal is a Maine seaweed economy that exemplifies sustainable community-based resource management: a seaweed commons worthy of the name.
Decisions we make in the coming years will shape Maine’s seaweed economy for the next decades. As stakeholders in this marine economy, we hope that this site will inspire our readers to contribute to the work needed to ensure governance, policy and oversight appropriate to our coastline, culture and ecological constraints. We see this as the responsibility of belonging to the seaweed commons of the Gulf of Maine.
We recognize that stakeholders will need to participate in cross-sectoral conversations and actively work to shape of the Maine seaweed economy, from the regulatory environment to gear and best practices, to recruitment, education, and support of the incoming generation.