Rockweed Coalition | History
HISTORY OF THE ROCKWEED COALITION
2012: The no-cut Rockweed Registry, held by Downeast Coastal Conservancy of Machias, stands at 526 properties.
2011: The no-cut Rockweed Registry, held by Downeast Coastal Conservancy of Machias, stands at 450 properties listed, a tremendous accomplishment and an indication of widespread opposition to rockweed harvesting.
2010: The no-cut Rockweed Registry, held by Downeast Coastal Conservancy of Machias, soared from ~90 to ~367 in 6 months. Four companies registered to cut rockweed in Cobscook Bay in 2010. As of September, 2010, very little rockweed was cut in Cobscook Bay, as a result of the dramatic rise in properties listed on the Rockweed Registry. North American Kelp and associates announced plans to use a mechanical harvester boat in Cobscook Bay in fall/winter 2010.
2009: Governor Baldacci signed the "Cobscook Bay Rockweed Management Area" Law. The new law adds several protections to Cobscook Bay rockweed habitat, including a cap on rockweed removed (17% of harvestable biomass); a prohibition on cutting rockweed in private and public conservation areas; and mandatory independent third-party monitoring of the harvest after Jan. 2010. In addition, fines were established for violating the closed conservation areas: $1,000 per day of violation. Please read the entire text of the law for complete details. Two companies cut rockweed in Cobscook Bay in 2009.
2008: The Rockweed Coalition was founded.
~16 boats from one company were brought to Cobscook Bay and approximately 27 harvesters removed anywhere from 6,613,867 to 35,273,961 pounds of rockweed from the Bay. People all around Cobscook Bay became more and more upset with the harvesting operation: boats lost power when rockweed fouled their props (a dangerous condition in the currents of Cobscook Bay); property owners with conservation easements on the shore watched the seaweed on their shore disappearing into the harvester boats; biologists spoke about the value of rockweed supporting the tremendous productivity of Cobscook Bay; fishermen discussed their fears of yet another environmental stressor affecting fisheries in Cobscook Bay. The Rockweed Coalition was founded in 2008.
2007: the rockweed harvest in Cobscook Bay resumed.
2000: A campaign against unlimited rockweed harvesting in Cobscook Bay started in 2000. That campaign (after a lot of hard work) was successful in producing some regulation of rockweed harvesting. Rockweed harvesters were required to get a seaweed license from the state and cut seaweed no less than 16" from the holdfast (attachment to the rock). The Rockweed Registry was formed in 2000 as Cobscook Bay landowners started listing their shorelines as "no cut" area.