The weekend before last we were lucky enough to have a stall at the National Botanical Garden of Wales, as part of the Celebrate Nature event organised by the For the Love of Nature team – what a fabulous bunch of people. It was an amazing event supporting mental health charities, bringing together so many like minded people to celebrate nature.
We met so many amazing people at the event, too many to mention here. But one of the highlights was meeting the people of Project Seagrass. Please go and check them and their amazing work here and take a look at their seagrass spotter app. They were founded in Wales in 2013 with the ambition to halt and reverse the loss of seagrass
We are very proud of our affiliation with The Seahorse Trust . We support their work with a donation of 10% from every sale of a seahorse product. Conservation of seahorses pretty much means conservation and restoration of seagrass beds. So I thought we’d share some facts about seagrass and just how important it is
The Importance of Seagrass
- Seahorses will live in other habitats but most species do best of all in seagrass forests and the sheltered places where seagrass would thrive if allowed to.
- Seagrass is really the only flowering plant that can live underwater in the sea.
- Some species maybe all, I’m not sure, can absorb about 15 times more carbon from the atmosphere than an area of rainforest the same size.
- There are many species in separate genera (Posidonia, Zostera and Thalassia) known as eelgrasses, Neptune grasses, ribbon grasses, tape grasses and turtlegrasses. Sea grass or eelgrass in the genus Zostera are found in UK waters. As I understand it, there are 3 species: common, narrow-leaved and dwarf.
- It is incredibly important as a nursery area for many fish species and we wonder, with a loss of over 90% of seagrass around our coasts, why fisheries are suffering.
- Many of us don’t eat fish but dolphins, seals and many other large marine creatures do. If fish have nowhere to breed vast food chains are broken
- Seagrass plantations around our coasts and around the world could ultimately save our coasts and ‘the world’ by absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.
- It absorbs wave energy protecting coasts from rising sea levels.
- By improving seabed habitats for marine life in general it is among the best bets for saving fisheries from collapse and allowing the growth of whale populations which are now thought to bring nutrients to the surface feeding more waterborne algae and the animal life that depends on it. In other words, restarting the almost defunct natural cycles we continue to damage or supress
- The world’s largest organism is a seagrass. We are awestruck by giant redwoods which can be over 100 metres tall but height (though impressive) isn’t everything. My neighbour alerted me a short time ago to a seagrass bed off the Australian coast that is proving to be the world’s largest living organism, or colony of clones at least, covering more than 70 square miles. There are nearly 258 hectares to the square mile and a hectare of seagrass is thought to absorb 400kg of carbon per year. So, check my maths but that one being could be absorbing over 12,800,000kgs of carbon per year. More of that please.
Nature based solutions
In a supportive letter to the Glasgow climate change summit the IUCN underlined the need for nature based solutions. Sea grass restoration is a nature based solution.
Mine is very much a layman’s view but I think there have been enough experiments and accidents with set-aside habitat management for us to see that leaving nature to be wild is much better for wild ‘resources’ than farming or wholesale ‘harvesting’ with limited restrictions.
Spread the word
For our part, we want more people out there talking about seahorses and the seagrass that many populations depend on. It is covered in our rhyming seahorse storybook to get youngsters and parents started together. A great way to get others involved is to wear it. Wear a seahorse picture and get people talking. A few people can make a big difference.