Coastal Conversations 1/22/21: The History and Future of Maine’s Seaweed Industry

Producer/Host: Natalie Springuel
Production assistance from Ela Keegan

Seaweed has always been an important species in Maine’s coastal ecosystems. Maine gardeners have for generations used seaweed to enhance their soil. But in the last decade or so, seaweed is finding a new role in our coastal communities. Both wild harvested and farmed seaweed are becoming important resources for people working along Maine’s waterfronts.

In today’s episode of Coastal Conversations, we share the voices of seaweed harvesters, scientists and others whose work revolves around seaweed. Guest co-producer Ela Keegan, a student at College of the Atlantic, has scoured interviews with seaweed people and conducted a few of her own. She weaves these voices into a narrative that recounts past uses of seaweed, present opportunities for youth to get into the industry, and the impact of a 2018 court case on the right to harvest rockweed (perhaps the seaweed species best known by our listeners).

Guests and interview sources:

David Myslabodski, Seaweed Consultant, interviewed by Galen Koch at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, 2018. Interview archived with The First Coast.

Micah Woodcock, Wild Seaweed Harvester, Atlantic Holdfast Seaweed Company. Interviewed by Galen Koch at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum, 2018. Interview archived with The First Coast.

Jessie Muhlin, Professor and Marine Biologist, Maine Maritime Academy. Interviewed by Ela Keegan, 2020. In addition, portions of Muhlin’s comments were captured in an earlier interview conducted by Springuel, some of that interview previously aired on the February 2018 episode of Coastal Conversations.

Ari Leach, Area Biologist, Department of Marine Resources. Interviewed by Ela Keegan, 2020.

Greg Tobey, General Manager, Source INC. Interviewed by Natalie Springuel in 2019.

About the host:
Natalie Springuel has hosted Coastal Conversation’s since 2015, with support from the University of Maine Sea Grant where she has served as a marine extension associate for 20 years. In 2019, Springuel received an award for Public Affairs programming from the Maine Association of Broadcasters for the Coastal Conversations show called “Portland’s Working Waterfront.” Springuel is passionate about translating science, sharing stories, and offering a platform for multiple voices to weigh in on complex coastal and ocean issues. She has recently enrolled in audio production training at Maine Media Workshop to dive deeper into making great community radio.