Seagrasses are flowering plants that live in shallow sheltered areas along our coast. These sensitive plants are different from seaweed and form bright green leaves. These leaves form large, dense meadows under the sea. Like the coral reefs and rainforest’s of the tropics, these underwater gardens are full of life, hosting many animals of different shapes, colours and sizes. However, like rainforest’s and coral reefs, these incredible underwater gardens are threatened. Globally, estimates suggest we lose an area of seagrass around the same size as two football pitches every hour. Protecting what is left is vital.
Seagrass meadows form the basis of the world’s primary fishing grounds, supplying 50% of the world’s fisheries. 32% of commercial fish species utilise seagrass during one part of their lifecycle
Seagrass meadows support communities and livelihoods. They provide vital nutrition for close to 3 billion people, and 50% of animal protein to 400 million people in the third world.
Seagrass meadows provide food and habitat for 1000's of species such as shellfish, seahorses, manatees, and sea turtles. Over 30 times more animals live within seagrass compared to adjacent sandy habitats.
Despite its importance, seagrass is disappearing...Fast. Storms, disease and human induced threats such as pollution and decreased water clarity, often triggered by excessive nutrients and sediments in runoff from the land, can have devastating local effects. Physical disturbance can also occur from contact with boat propellers and from chain moorings. Generally, if only leaves and above-ground vegetation are impacted, seagrasses can recover from direct physical damage within a few weeks; however, when damage is done to roots and rhizomes, the ability of the plant to produce new growth is severely impacted, and plants may never be able to recover.
Project Seagrass is an marine conservation charity dedicated to ensuring that seagrass meadows are protected globally, for the biodiversity and people that depend on them.
Registered Charity in England and Wales No. 1162824 and in Scotland No. SC046788
© 2017 Project Seagrass. All rights reserved.