LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES Project
(Reducing and Mitigating Erosion and Disturbance Impacts affecting the Seabed)
We’re proud to be one of five partners in this large-scale habitat conservation project led by Natural England. Funding provided by the EU LIFE programme will see 5 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) safeguarded for future generations.
We’ve built a purpose-built seagrass laboratory at the National Marine Aquarium – our centre of Ocean excellence, in Plymouth – where we’re cultivating up to 25,000 plants a year. The aim is to restore 4 hectares of lost seagrass meadows in the Plymouth Sound SAC, and repeat the work in the Solent Maritime SAC. Work has already started following our first seed collection, and our lab is expected to open for public viewing in July 2020 to allow Aquarium visitors to see the plant cultivation in action – as well as giving them the opportunity to learn more about this important plant and the habitat it provides. The lab facilitates the growing of seedlings for transplantation and will ultimately allow us to re-wild and regrow this critical habitat.
We are also leading on the educational aspect of the programme, we’ve created schools resources and with our partners delivering interactive sessions within schools over Southern England.
We’re also working with boat users in the area to inform them on their impacts, working towards long-term sustainable practices and greater care of our Ocean. Having spent the past two decades delivering innovative, Curriculum-linked Ocean learning sessions to schools, we’re excited to be getting our teeth into this new and exciting challenge!
At the Ocean Conservation Trust, we understand that to create a healthy Ocean, both habitat conservation / restoration and behaviour change must work in tandem to achieve our vision of a healthy Ocean.
How does this help the Ocean?
Seagrass is one of the Ocean’s most important habitats, providing a nursery ground for many commercial fish stocks and acting as a haven for many marine animals including rare seahorses, stalked jellyfish, and rare seaweeds. Seagrass also stabilises sediments and prevents coastal erosion, as well as having the capacity to absorb carbon more efficiently than terrestrial habitats – making it an important player in the fight against climate change.
Today, seagrass is considered critically endangered and is an EU Red Listed habitat due to the damage regularly caused to the slow-growing beds from boaters, walkers and fishermen. The meadows are threatened by anchoring, mooring and launching of recreational boats, as well as trampling from walkers and bait collectors.