An inva­sive Asian sea­weed that likely was brought to the New Eng­land coast from Europe has spread across more than 400 miles (645 km) of Atlantic coast­line since it was first dis­cov­ered in U.S. waters off Rhode Island in 2009, biol­o­gists say.

The Red Asian sea­weed is cre­ating prob­lems for the fishing industry as it gums lob­ster traps and fishing pots while dis­placing marine crea­tures that feed on native sea­weed varieties.

It’s out­com­peting them,” said Matt Bracken, a North­eastern Uni­ver­sity biol­o­gist who is studying the spread of the plant known sci­en­tif­i­cally as het­erosi­phonia japonica.

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