Rockweed Coalition | Legal and Landowner Issues
"The law is not clear," according to Mark Randlett of the Maine Attorney Generals Office. There have been no cases that indicate harvesting seaweed would be considered "fishing," he added.
Jump to: Property rights and rockweed cutting | Where are the protected lands?
FORMS: ROCKWEED REGISTRY FORM
PROPERTY RIGHTS AND ROCKWEED CUTTING
The state of Maine provide licenses for intertidal rockweed (seaweed) "harvesting", but it admits rockweed harvesting may be an illegal activity.
Is it legal for rockweed harvesters to take rockweed from private shores without permission?
- Who owns the rockweed?
Column by Carl Ross, Julie Keene and Robin Hadlock Seeley (directors, Rockweed Coalition; February 2011)
THE STATE OF MAINE DOES NOT KNOW THE ANSWER
- Department of Marine Resources FAQ:
"...since ownership of the seaweed in the intertidal zone is an unsettled question that only Maine courts can definitively answer, the State of Maine takes no position on (1) whether the public may harvest seaweed from those areas without interfering with the private property rights of the upland owner..."
- State Attorney General:
Who owns the seaweed?
Letter from Maine Attorney General, Steven Rowe, March 2008
Why sign up on the Rockweed Registry? ROCKWEED REGISTRY FORM
Listing your property on the Rockweed Registry lets rockweed harvesters, harvesting companies, and the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) know that you do not allow rockweed cutting on your property. Registry lists are updated every few weeks and sent to harvesters, harvesting companies, and the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR).
WHERE ARE THE PROTECTED (no rockweed cutting) LANDS IN MAINE?
1. COBSCOOK BAY
This map (Sector and Protected Lands Map, updated March 2012) shows rockweed harvest sectors and all lands in Cobscook Bay where rockweed cutting is prohibited (Sec. 3. 12 MRSA §6803-C). This map also shows Rockweed Registry lands where landowners are on record as prohibiting rockweed cutting on their lands.
Letter from the Maine Legislature (Marine Resources Committee) June 10th, 2009, warning harvesters not to cut rockweed on lands registered with the Rockweed Registry.
2. ALL FEDERAL USFWS/NPS LANDS in Maine do not allow any rockweed cutting.
3. Rockweed cutting in all other locations on the Maine coast is allowed by the state.
ARE THERE 'No Cut' CONSERVATION AREAS IN THE NEW STATE ROCKWEED MANAGEMENT PLAN?
Not yet. The Rockweed Management Plan (RMP) will be submitted to the Legislature in January 2014 without any specific conservation areas identified. Conservation areas will be designated by DMR in a process similar to the process that produced the draft rockweed management plan (RMP, p. 34).
Should DMR decide which conservation areas are worthy of protection for every town along the Maine coast? We think not.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE COBSCOOK BAY ROCKWEED MANAGEMENT AREA "NO CUT" CONSERVATION AREAS IN THE STATEWIDE RMP?
The Cobscook Bay Rockweed Management Area law must be repealed if its provisions are superceded by the statewide RMP.
Should the Cobscook Bay Rockweed Management Area law be repealed? We believe it should not be repealed. At this time, the Cobscook Bay Rockweed Management Area law offers superior protection for Cobscook’s Bay renowned biodiversity and productive commercial fisheries. (What is a biodiversity hotspot?)