Moratorium on rockweed harvesting in Cobscook Bay

Rockweed (seaweed) beds in Cobscook Bay are a high value habitat for invertebrates and shorebirds. Rockweed beds also support the high productivity of Cobscook Bay and the fisheries on which local communities depend. In 2008 damage to rockweed beds was widespread and rockweed beds set aside for conservation were harvested despite promises that they would not be harvested. The State of Maine should impose a moratorium on commercial rockweed harvesting in Cobscook Bay until appropriate and enforceable regulations are in place.
We, the undersigned,  support a moratorium on commercial rockweed harvesting in Cobscook Bay until appropriate and enforceable regulations on this harvest become law in the state of Maine.

Rockweed beds are habitat to invertebrates and juvenile fish. Rockweed beds supply nutrients that support the high productivity of Cobscook Bay and the fisheries on which local communities depend for survival.

The 2008 rockweed harvest damaged rockweed beds and rockweed plants were cut too short, in violation of current Maine regulations, but there was no enforcement. Conservation areas were harvested in violation of promises harvesters made to stay away from those areas.

The Maine state government is facing severe budget cutbacks, meaning that there will be even less enforcement of harvest regulations in 2009.

For all these reasons, and for the protection of Cobscook Bay and the communities that depend on Cobscook Bay for survival, we urge lawmakers and state agencies to impose a moratorium on rockweed harvesting in Cobscook Bay until appropriate, enforceable regulations are in place in the state of Maine.
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