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Products for a Sustainable World Because of Maine’s Rockweed Harvest


If you live in Maine, you’re likely aware of the sustainable rockweed harvest that’s been going on here for decades. What some may not be aware of is there are a number of government regulations that control the harvest of rockweed to ensure its sustainability.

Some of these safeguards include a minimum cut length from the seaweed’s holdfast of 16” and the requirement that every harvester have a license to harvest and must report their landings (how much they harvest) to the Maine Department of Marine Resources. A harvest that’s well managed with regulations in place that hold companies accountable are a good thing and ensure the sustainability of the resource, the industry and our working waterfront.

Less frequently discussed, however, is what products are made from rockweed once it’s been harvested. That part of the story is critical: not only are harvesting methods sustainable, the products created from rockweed allow growers to reduce their reliance on synthetic chemicals, thereby reducing the chemical environmental load on our ecosystem.

Acadian Seaplants’ products include biostimulants for plants as well as animal feed products. “Growers are seeking alternative products to produce high quality crops and strong yields,” said Ron Taylor, VP of Marketing with Acadian Plant Health™ Division “and our natural products provide this solution to reduce dependency on synthetic fertilizers and chemicals.”

In short, Maine’s sustainable rockweed harvest is used to produce natural, environmentally-friendly products for crops that can replace synthetic agricultural inputs, which are often harmful to ecosystems. Algal-based animal feeds, when fed to production animals, end up in our food chain. Natural, seaweed-based products are not only good for the environment, they’re good for people too.

Ocean Organics, a local company using rockweed to create natural fertilizers for golf courses and agriculture, displaces the use of chemical fertilizers on golf greens and in crop production. And Source Micronutrients, from Maine, produces supplements for horse, dog and people health.

In today’s global economy, when we think about sustainability, we must consider the entire ecosystem and our entire food chain. There are few products that tell such a sustainable story – from harvest to plate.

The rockweed harvest here on Maine’s shore contributes to environmentally friendly products that are used around the world… From horses to golf courses to commercial farms, Maine’s rockweed is making the world a better, more environmentally friendly, place.

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Law Court Decision Holds Right to Harvest Rockweed Belongs to Owners of Intertidal Land, Acadian Seaplants Concerned about Impact of Decision on Seaweed Industry; Maine Economy


Portland, Maine – Today the Maine Law Court found against defendant Acadian Seaplants Limited, holding that rockweed, and the right to harvest it, belongs to the owners of the intertidal land.

“This is an extremely unfortunate decision for an entire industry and for Maine’s economy,” said Acadian President, Jean-Paul Deveau. “The sustainable harvesting of rockweed has created jobs and grown businesses, all of which are creating sustainable and environmentally friendly products.”

Despite the decision, Acadian Seaplants intends to maintain its operations in Maine, where it has grown its operations over the past 20 years to include 5 full time employees, upwards of 30 seasonal hand harvesters and two year-round mechanical harvesters. Most of Acadian Seaplant’s operations are in Washington County; Maine’s poorest county. In 2018, Acadian invested heavily in Maine including $580,000 on operations; $400,000 on trucking and transportation and $100,000 in capital investments.

“We’re incredibly vested in the communities we harvest in,” added Deveau, “we’ve developed positive working relationships with all our partners in Maine – from Whitney’s in Machias, which does all our engine repair, to Look Lobster who handles our trucking, to Billings Marine in Stonington.” In 2018, and again in early 2019, Acadian donated $2,500 to three high schools in areas it harvests (Shead High School in Eastport; Machias High School in Machias, Jonesport-Beals High School in Jonesport) for a total donation of $15,000 over two years. As part of this program, high school students conducted experiments with Acadian Seaplants’ products, testing rockweed-based biostimulants on mung beans.

Moving forward, Acadian Seaplants will seek permission from landowners to harvest rockweed where required. “We have been part of Maine’s working waterfront for many years,” said Deveau. “We intend to continue to work in these communities, support local causes and invest in the local economy.”


Acadian Seaplants Limited is a fully-integrated, research-driven biotech manufacturer of unique cultivated sea-vegetables; and animal feed supplements, crop biostimulants and nutritional products derived from Ascophyllum nodosum (“rockweed”). Acadian has 400 employees worldwide in 12 countries, 35 researchers on staff and a dozen Ph.D. scientists to do R&D on marine plants from resource management to manufacturing of products. In Maine, Acadian Seaplants employs five people full-time and has more than 30 rockweed harvesters working along the Downeast coast, some who harvest year round, primarily in Washington County. Last year, Acadian invested heavily in Maine including $580,000 on operations; $400,000 on trucking and transportation and $100,000 in capital investments.

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