National Fisherman


PORTLAND – All it takes is a license and a cutting rake to harvest rockweed anytime and anywhere along most of Maine's long coast. Other than in a large bay in far eastern Maine, there's no fisheries management plan for the common seaweed that grows along the shore.

But work is now underway to develop a statewide plan to manage rockweed, which is processed in Maine into fertilizer, animal feed supplements, food and other products with an estimated value of $20 million a year.

A team tasked with developing the plan says rockweed isn't being overharvested, but that it's time to develop a strategy to establish sustainable harvesting guidelines and adopt harvesting practices to minimize habitat and ecosystem impacts as the industry grows. Rockweed landings in Maine have risen from less than 4 million pounds a decade ago to more than 15 million pounds in each of the past two years.

"Rockweed is becoming a much more important commercial species," said Brian Beal, a marine ecology professor at the University of Maine-Machias and a member of the 13-person development team, which held its first meeting last week. "With increased levels of harvest, we want to make sure there's a plan in place to ensure it's sustainably harvested."

Read the full story at Portland Press Herald>>

Inside the Industry

The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.

Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.

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