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What is Rockweed and why is it important?

The familiar greenish-brown macroalgae that covers the rocky shores of New England and maritime Canada is commonly called rockweed. Most of it is the species Ascophyllum nodosum. Rockweed has been harvested commercially and extracts from it are used for fertilizer or thickeners for food and cosmetics (these thickeners are called alginates). Until recently, there has been little regulation on rockweed harvesting.

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