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News - 11/04/22


Seagrass is an unassuming plant, but vital as a habitat and for locking-in carbon and producing oxygen.

Seagrass thrives in shallow waters with a sandy seabed, such as East Cowes, Osborne Bay, Lepe and Bouldnor. The seagrass meadows provide a nursery habitat for fish like pollack, plaice and herring, and for sea horses, cuttlefish and stalked jellyfish.

Restoring Seagrass Meadows
Meadows that were once thriving have dwindled by 92% over the last century, threatening wildlife and even coastal erosion. But there is good news – a major project is underway to restore 4 hectares of seagrass meadows in the Solent.

BBC’s Countryfile got involved with the planting, showing how the seeds are secured in biodegradable sacks and planted on the seabed by hand in shallow areas, or from boats.  Watch on iPlayer (Countryfile Series 14, Episode 15, Plant Britain By The Sea)

Cowes Harbour Commission has been involved in the project through the work of the Isle of Wight Estuaries Officer, Sue Hawley, and with workboat Seaclear used as a planting platform for the reseeding of the meadow off Lepe.

Anchor With Care
As boaters, we can choose to minimise our impact on seagrass meadows by anchoring with care.

Setting and dragging anchors and scour from chain can uproot, damage and destroy seagrass. And with shallow, sandy waters being perfect for both seagrass and leisure boat anchoring, the impact can be significant.

There are no-anchoring areas in Studland Bay to keep boats away from the seagrass beds, and many areas of the Mediterranean also ban anchoring to protect seagrass. We don’t have these in the Solent, so it’s up to us to minimise our impact on seagrass.

Read The Green Blue’s advice for practical tips.