2nd December 2022
Seagrass, the only flowering marine plant, grows in the shallower waters of our seas and oceans as it is reliant on sunlight for photosynthesis. Where it is well established it forms meadows where its roots stabilises sediment on the seabed preventing erosion. Its roots also oxygenate the sediments supporting many burrowing organisms. As it grows it sequesters carbon dioxide and does so at rates 10 to 40 higher than that of forests! It provides food, breeding grounds and nurseries for many marine species – from seahorses to seals, dog fish and octopus.
However world wide seagrasses are under threat. These marine meadows are damaged and destroyed by sewage and chemical effluents, by algal blooms that restrict sunlight penetrating the water and so preventing photosynthesis, by mechanical damage from anchor chains, marine vessels, and dredging as well as from over-fishing which disturbs the balance of the ecosystem. It is estimated that the UK has lost 95% of its seagrass meadows.
The Segrass Ocean Rescue project is planting 5 million seagrass seeds off the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd and Anglesey, with the aim of creating 10 hectares (25 acres) of seagrass meadow by the end of 2026.