AUGUSTA — Maine officials are working on a plan to close ecologically sensitive parts of the state to rockweed harvesting on the state’s coast.

The state Department of Marine Resources says Commissioner Patrick Keliher this week appointed the members of a group that will determine the criteria for areas that should be closed to rockweed harvesting. Rockweed is used to make products such as animal feed supplements and fertilizer.

Department official say the working group will likely hold its first meeting next month and will meet monthly until January. It will then present a report to the Marine Resources Committee.

Maine’s rockweed harvest has swollen from fewer than 4 million pounds per year 10 years ago to more than 15 million pounds per year in recent years.

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