UK seagrasses are under increasing strain and in an unfavourable state, yet these meadows provide critical ecosystem services. Seagrasses are threatened with annual global losses estimated at 7%. The reasons for this decline are complex, but commonly associated with poor water quality and catchment management, coastal development, and a lack of awareness fuelled by a bias in popular media attention towards other marine ecosystems. Disease and direct physical damage also contribute to decline.
Urgent action is required to stem the loss of our seagrass meadows, prioritise their protection and maintain ecosystem services provision. March 2020 saw the plantation of the UKs first large-scale seagrass restoration scheme. A partnership between Sky Ocean Rescue, Swansea University, WWF-UK, Project Seagrass and Cardiff University, the restoration is in Dale Bay, West Wales, and the target is a restored meadow of two hectares of the seagrass species Zostera marina. Around 700,000 seeds have been planted using a novel methodology utilising small sand-filled hessian bags. The project has seen multiple challenges but we’re hoping this is the start of ‘re-greening’ the UKs coastal seas. This webinar will discuss the project, its challenges and the future.
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