MAINE, USA — Maine's springtime delicacy may be at risk of over-harvesting.
For many families across Maine, Fiddlehead picking is a springtime tradition, but now, one study is showing that over-harvesting can lead to a decline in Fiddlehead numbers.
A four-year study conducted by a University of Maine Cooperative Extension has found that fern crowns with all the Fiddleheads removed in a single harvest suffered a significant decline in growth in the subsequent years, and in some cases were killed outright.
"Mainers tend to have patches where they harvest every year, so it's important to keep a mind on sustainability with harvesting so we can keep picking," David Fuller, a UMaine Extension agricultural and nontimber forest products professional, told NEWS CENTER Maine.
Fuller went on to say that plants whose Fiddleheads look as if they've already been harvested that spring, should be left alone and with any luck, will produce a healthy amount the following year.