The Ocean Conservation Trust Blue Meadows Project has now protected all six seagrass beds at Torbay in Devon.
To protect important habitats, sailors and motorboaters should avoid anchoring near the 23 Blue Meadows markers buoys located in Torbay in Devon.
More than 65 hectares of sensitive seagrass meadows – all the six seagrass beds in Torbay – are protected under the scheme which is being led by the Ocean Conservation Trust.
In the next five-year period, Blue Meadows aims to protect approximately 700 hectares of seagrass.
Mark Parry, head of ocean habitat restoration at the charity, said: “After kicking off our protection programme in Falmouth last year, we have been eager to continue our pipeline of locations, protecting seagrass beds along the South Coast of the UK and beyond.
“To have marked all the seagrass beds in Torbay is such a great step to achieve protection of this vital habitat and puts us well on our way to protecting 10% of all UK seagrass in the next five years.”
Anchoring boats on sensitive seagrass fields has a negative impact on their health. This means that the benefits of seagrass meadows to the environment are lost.
Healthy seagrass meadows have multiple environmental benefits. These include supporting fisheries, acting as a hotspot of biodiversity, reducing erosion along the coast, and capturing CO2.
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Torbay Harbour Authority’s support was crucial in ensuring that the new markers buoys were placed to mark sensitive habitats in Torbay.
The Ocean Conservation Trust works to restore lost seagrass meadows in addition to protecting the existing seagrass beds.
With the support of ScottishPower Foundation, the Ocean Conservation Trust have deployed 100 biodegradable hessian pillows, into St Mary’s Bay, Devon, which covers around a quarter of a hectare on the seabed. Each pillow contains healthy plantlets of seagrass. Soon, additional marker buoys will protect the restoration site and allow it to flourish into a seagrass meadow.
Melanie Hill, executive officer and trustee at the ScottishPower Foundation said, “We’re delighted to be able to support the Ocean Conservation Trust’s important work to restore vital seagrass meadows in Torbay.
“Seagrass is an incredible ally in the fight against climate change as it captures large amounts of carbon – and we’re dedicated to supporting initiatives that support the advancement of environmental protection.”