Learn About the Maine Rockweed Coalition


The Maine Rockweed Coalition promotes conservation of intertidal marine habitat, including rockweed.

We are biologists, teachers, Maine residents, small business owners, fishermen, and others. We became a 501c3 non-profit in 2021.

We believe in the value of protecting coastal habitat for fisheries and wildlife, particularly in light of the impacts of climate change on marine species:

“Critical coastal ecosystems such as wetlands, estuaries, and coral reefs are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Such ecosystems are among the most biologically productive environments in the world. Their existence at the interface between the terrestrial and marine environment exposes them to a wide variety of human and natural stressors.

The added burden of climate change may further degrade these valuable ecosystems, threatening their ecological sustainability and the flow of goods and services they provide to human populations.”

Coastal and Marine Ecosystems & Global Climate Change: Potential Effects on U.S. Resources (2002)


We have been leaders in the effort to protect coastal seaweed habitat for fisheries and wildlife since 2008.

Scientific report on “Sustainable rockweed harvests”

What We've Achieved


Published a guest column in the Quoddy Tides on protecting rockweed to protect working waterfronts (Feb).

Along with many other groups, helped defeat LD 2003, in the Maine legislature where it died in committee (Jan.).


Helped raise ~ $47,000 for the legal defense of landowners in the last year of the 2021 rockweed industry lawsuit in Maine Superior Court.

Received grants from Eastern Maine Conservation Initiative and Butler Conservation Foundation to conduct drone surveys and analysis of commercially cut rockweed beds. Presented a poster at the Maine GIS User Group conference in Freeport, ME on these findings.

Helped defeat LD 851 before it even had a public hearing in committee in the Maine legislature.

Led two intertidal field trips with the students of Pembroke Elementary School, Pembroke ME.


Conducted two landowner/public workshops on rockweed forest protection at the Center for Ecological Teaching and Learning; led an elementary school field trip; and other public educational activities. Research and monitoring of cutting impacts and locations led to the first enforcement action for rockweed harvest violations (2 counts theft and 2 counts cutting in a conservation area).

Our Senior Scientist and Executive Director, Dr. Robin Hadlock Seeley, was awarded a Conservation Leadership award by the Natural Resources Council of Maine for her work protecting rockweed habitat.


Received a generous grant to help us make the leap from citizens’ group to 501(c)(3) non profit organization. After 13 years as an informal citizens’ group, the Maine Rockweed Coalition is now a 501(c)(3).

2015 – 2020

Supported, testified over several years at national meetings, and mobilized support for the National Organic Standards Board (USDA) adopting recommendations in an Aug. 2020 proposal for a stricter standard for wild seaweed harvests labeled “organic”. This resulted in October 2020 in an NOSB vote to recommend to USDA stricter standards for rockweed and other wild seaweed harvests. See the media report on this highly significant step toward an ecologically-based standard for wild seaweed harvesting.

2014 -2015

Attended meetings on, and provided comment on the Report on Recommendations of the Rockweed Working Group for rockweed conservation areas led by the Department of Marine Resources, State of Maine. This report was never finalized nor adopted and put into regulations.

2013 – 2014

Attended meetings on, and provided comment during the creation of the Rockweed Management Plan of the Department of Marine Resources, State of Maine. To our knowledge, recommendations within this management plan have never been put into regulation or statute.


Advising biologist and co-founder, Dr. Robin Hadlock Seeley, with Dr. Bill Schlesinger, published a scientific paper on rockweed harvest sustainability.

2010 – 2012

Our co-founder, Dr. Robin Hadlock Seeley, was awarded grants from Toyota/National Audubon and the Eastern Maine Conservation Initiative for documentary films on the importance of rockweed habitat to the marine ecosystem commercial fisheries, wild fisheries and wildlife. Our film about Maine rockweed was chosen for international showings as part of the Beneath the Waves Film Festival. Watch our short film, Maine’s Rockweed Forest, and see other films we’ve made!

2010 – 2019

Founded the Rockweed Registry of landowners. Landowners submitted a form listing themselves as not allowing rockweed harvest on their intertidal land. Some 570 properties in at least 12 towns were registered by their owners (mainly in Cobscook Bay, where the Registry began).

2008 -2009

Led a successful effort to pass a bill which became Maine’s Cobscook Bay Rockweed Management Area law with support from fishermen, the Passamaquoddy Tribe, towns, Washington County government, landowners, scientists and other residents.

2008 – present

Encouraged other conservation groups and agencies to support rockweed conservation efforts.

Board Members

Carl Ross
Board of Directors President
Carl Ross, a retired electrician, is a lifelong resident of Calais, ME. Carl also serves on the board of the Friends of Devil’s Head park on the St Croix River, Passamaquoddy Bay.
    Dr. Robin Hadlock Seeley
    Executive Director, Senior Scientist and Board member
    Robin is a co-founder of the Maine Rockweed Coalition and a certified Senior Ecologist (Ecological Society of America). She lives on Cobscook Bay and is an eighth generation Mainer who grew up in Freeport.
      Alan Brooks
      Board member
      Alan has lived on Cobscook Bay since 1980.  He co-founded the Quoddy Regional Land Trust (now Downeast Coastal Conservancy) in 1987 and brings to MRC his long engagement in environmental and conservation concerns and experience in nonprofit development and management.

        Past board members: Ken Ross, in memoriam

        Dr. Ken Ross, in memoriam (1937 - March 11, 2024)
        Board member
        Ken was a founding board member of the Maine Rockweed Coalition and  grew up in Calais and Pembroke. A retired professor of political science and Air Force veteran, Ken lived in Alaska and published books about environmental conflict there. We are grateful for his contribution to rockweed protection, his leadership and keen insights, and his sense of humor. We miss him greatly.