Maine Rockweed Harvesting Rights Debated

Rockweed, photo courtesy Wikipedia.

Working Waterfont: Is cutting intertidal seaweed (rockweed) from Maine shores legal and harmless? Why do arguments about rockweed harvesting persist? The inconvenient truth about rockweed harvesting is that by law, the intertidal area from the high to low water mark in Maine belongs to landowners, not the state.

Harvesters have no automatic right to remove plants, including seaweed, from the shore. Yet rockweed cutters and the companies that pay them rarely, if ever, ask permission to cut.

Seaweed harvesters are warned by language on every seaweed harvester license issued by the state of Maine: “A seaweed harvesting license issued by the Department of Marine Resources is not a grant of proprietary interest from intertidal areas, which in most cases is owned privately.”

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