National Fisherman


Maine regulators are drawing up the first management plan to protect rockweed, a common seaweed on the Maine coast that supported a $20 million industry in 2012 and is likely to attract even more intensive harvesting as global markets expand.
 
The number of licensed rockweed harvesters in Maine climbed from 29 to 59 between 2004 and 2012, when harvesters gathered about 14 million pounds of the marine plant. Rockweed, which clings to rocks in the intertidal zone, sells for only 3 cents a pound at the dock. But the harvest was worth $20 million after it was processed for use in a range of products: Pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, cosmetics, fertilizers, animal feed and horticultural additives.
 
“We’re a young fishery … but we have a big bright future in seaweed harvesting,” said Bob Morse, founder of Atlantic Laboratories Inc. of Waldoboro, the parent company of North American Kelp, which processes rockweed. “If this was China or Japan, we’d have a $3 billion seaweed industry here.”
 
A 13-member team assembled by the Department of Marine Resources will take a final look at the proposed management plan on Jan. 7, before sending it on to the Legislature’s Committee on Marine Resources for additional comment. The rockweed harvest is one of about 20 marine fisheries or industries the department plans to review for possible regulation and oversight.
 
Read the full story at the Kennebec Journal>>

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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