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Large-scale seaweed farming could bring unforeseen consequences

Colleen Francke pulls up a rope of kelp as it grows in Casco Bay. Francke cultivates 10 acres of kelp in Falmouth, Maine.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

While we fully support community-based seaweed farming that is well-managed and scaled appropriately for the ecosystem, what factory farms have taught us is that any activity can become counterproductive and harmful without clear guardrails in place (“From Maine’s warming waters, a new cash crop,” Page A1, June 27).

Seaweed farming on an industrial scale would be a huge experiment with unknown and potentially harmful consequences to the fragile and sensitive marine ecosystems already under tremendous pressure. Some proposals have even suggested farming millions of acres of the ocean for fuel, an idea that is eerily similar to taking land out of food production to grow corn for ethanol.


Contrary to some of the points made in the story, fish farming isn’t the only way to put seafood on our tables in the future. Small- and mid-scale fishing rooted in values of community, environmental, and economic justice can happen without compromising the health of the ocean.

The most ecologically sound way to farm seafood is to impose limits on the total amount of acreage that a single individual or entity can use or control, prohibit offshore farming of finfish, and ensure large areas of the ocean are not privatized and coastal communities’ wealth not stolen by large corporations in the name of seafood production.

Tim Rider

Commercial fisherman

Dover, N.H.

Niaz Dorry


North American Marine Alliance and National Family Farm Coalition