A project to protect 700 hectares of seagrass has been launched off the southwest coast of England.
‘Blue Meadows’ is being launched by the Ocean Conservation Trust, a global conservation charity, which says seagrass meadows provide nurseries for important fish species and santuary for up to 80,000 fish per hectare.
As well as absorbing carbon dioxide, seagrass also reduces the impact of coastal erosion by stabilising sediment on the seabed.
“They are up to 35 times more efficient at absorbing carbon than rainforests of the same area and despite only covering 0.2% of the sea floor, seagrasses store 10% of the ocean’s carbon,” the Trust says.
The scheme will identify areas where the meadows grow, and protect them by installing buoys and providing alternative anchoring options to boats. Rather than restricting the passage of leisure and commercial boats, it will help skippers to minimise how much they disturb the meadows by being able to avoid them.
”Since the 1930s, up to 90% of Zostera marina seagrass beds have been lost, and despite the importance of these habitats, they are still in decline,” said Mark Parry, Development Officer for the Ocean Conservation Trust.