Seaweed Symposium 2019

In June of 2019, Seaweed Commons gathered a group of marine algae researchers, wild harvesters, naturalists, artists, and aquaculturists for two days of lectures and walks to explore the ecology, stewardship, governance, and economic future of seaweed in Maine.

We explored the political ecology of marine algae in Maine and around the world; looking across sectors to wild fisheries, genetic issues within hatcheries, iterations of aquaculture, farming landscapes, and enclosure by way of finfish aquaculture. We thought through ecosystem-based management practices, discussed issues of scale, regulation, access, Maine's public trust doctrine, rising ocean temperatures, and shifting global kelp ecologies.

Watch symposium session recordings here!

Learn more about our presenters and themes:

Abby Barrows—a scientist and oyster farmer, spoke about her research on global microplastic pollution. She has developed the most diverse and largest known dataset available to date. 

Nik Bertulis facilitated a discussion on “A Restorative Mariculture framework.” 

Brian Von Herzen from the Woods Hole Center discussed the potential role of marine algae in restoring carbon balance to our atmosphere.

Onya Hogan-Finlay and Kim Kelly—artists and residents at the Tides Institute lead us through regalia making with local seaweeds.

Robin Haddock-Seeley—a marine researcher with deep knowledge of the rockweed ecosystem. Robin discussed rockweed ecology, the basics of Maine’s seaweed regulatory framework, and the potential implications of the recent Ross lawsuit which changed the legal status of rockweed from a public good to a privatized commodity.

Jaquie Roubidoux, UMaine Extension Agent, and Shep Erhart of Maine Coast Sea Vegetables and Maine Seaweed Exchange—who shared their deep understanding of wild harvest and cultivated marine algae in Maine and around the world.

Dwayne Shaw from Downeast Salmon Federation—who gave an introduction to Downeast fisheries, rivers, and intertidal ecosystems. How can the protectors of fish and fisheries be in greater collaboration? 

Jo Lane and her family from Australia—Jo received a Churchill Fellowship to investigate kelp farming operations overseas and is working with Australian fisheries to shape the seaweed cultivation sector in her country.