Over the past four years, we have been the lead restoration partner in the EU Life Recreation ReMEDIES project. As the project nears its end, we had one last seagrass mat deployment to complete, and in true OCT fashion, it was a big one!

After planting seagrass seeds in our cultivation laboratory at the National Marine Aquarium, our talented Aquaculture Technicians tend to them daily for months. When they have grown into healthy seagrass plantlets, they are ready to be deployed into the Ocean at one of our restoration sites.

It’s all hands on deck when the team are preparing to undertake a mass deployment! The cultivation laboratory is drained, and the crates containing the seagrass mats are taken down two storeys, and out of the National Marine Aquarium (they are quite heavy too)! The crates are then put into cages and lifted onto the boat. All of this happens under a time limit. Seagrass is sub tidal, so the mats can’t stay out the water for too long as we don’t want the plants to dry out!

Once on the boat, they head over to the restoration site at Jennycliff Bay, where the cages are gently lowered onto the seabed. The next day, the divers jump into the water, take the individual mats out of the cages, and pin them into the seabed. This is done very precisely with each mat secured three metres away from each other. This allows the team to go back and monitor the growth and health of the plants.

In this final restoration effort using our seagrass mat technique, 100 seagrass mats were deployed, covering a huge 3,000 square metres of the seabed at our restoration site in Jennycliff Bay! Each live mat contains an average of 35 plants, so the team planted around 3,500 plants! A great final effort by the team!

Over course of the project, the team have restored a huge 8,500 square metres of seagrass in Jennycliff Bay using the seagrass mat technique. This means that around 10,000 healthy seagrass plants have a new home in Jennycliff Bay! An amazing feat by our wonderful Habitat Restoration Team!

LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES is a £2.5 million, five-year marine conservation partnership project to Save Our Seabed at five Special Areas of Conservation in Southern England. ReMEDIES is funded by the EU LIFE programme and led by Natural England in partnership with the Ocean Conservation Trust, The Royal Yachting AssociationMarine Conservation Society, and Plymouth City Council/Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum.