Court Battles, Conservation and a Cornered Market: Rockweed Industry in State of Flux
The recent lawsuit in which Verrill Dana attorney Gordon Smith represented a group of Maine coastal landowners seeking to assert ownership rights to rockweed growing in the intertidal zones of their property is discussed in an April 10, 2017 article from LocalXpress.ca entitled "Court Battles, Conservation and a Cornered Market: Rockweed Industry in State of Flux." The ruling in the lawsuit found in favor of the landowners, although that decision is under appeal. The ultimate ruling in this case will decide whether or not seaweed harvesting companies like Acadia Seaplants Ltd. will be able to harvest rockweed from intertidal zones in Maine without receiving consent, and possibly providing compensation to individual coastal landowners. The article argues that the ongoing dispute over harvesting rights in Maine could portend similar debates about ownership of seaweed on coastal properties and the sustainability of seaweed harvesting practices generally in other states and especially in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia where the annual rockweed harvest is quadruple the size of that from Maine waters.