Invasive seaweed spreads along New England coast

As it continues to proliferate, Heterosiphonia japonica can create problems for Maine lobstermen as it has for lobstermen in Massachusetts. Last spring, the plant clung to the sides of Skip Ryan’s gear and clogged his traps to the point where he was forced to move his traps from inner Boston Harbor into deeper waters, where the seaweed wasn’t so bad. When Ryan reached inside the traps to remove the seaweed, it would break apart in his fingers, creating a nasty mess. Some of his traps became so weighted down with the stuff that it was hard for him to pull them aboard. “It gets all over the ground line, it’s all over the wheelhouse of the boat, it’s all over the pot hauler,” he said. “The stuff is horrendous.” Some are concerned the seaweed could squeeze out native varieties and smother sea grass beds, which serve as important nursery grounds for fish, lobsters and other marine species. Read More