Solent Seagrass Project

Solent Seagrass Project

© Julie Hatcher

Seagrass provides a complex habitat for marine life to forage for food, breed and shelter from predators. Seagrass meadows are hugely important for marine wildlife. The dense cover acts as a nursery for juvenile fish and crustaceans, while seahorses use their tails to anchor themselves to the grass. The fish that mature in the safety of the seagrass meadows then contribute to the fish stocks that our fishing industry relies on.

The plants' dense network of roots and rhizomes binds sediment together making the sand or mud more stable and slowing down coastal erosion. Seagrass is also a globally important carbon sink that can store carbon 35 times faster than rainforests

Project objectives

By learning about where seagrass exists now and where it is no longer present, we are better able to understand and protect it. By conducting surveys at local seagrass sites, and gathering historical seagrass records from across our counties, we have begun to form a picture of seagrass in our area throughout recent history.

This data (including site maps and inventory forms) is available by request. It details the biology and ecology of seagrass, current threats, conservation and management options, and our survey and monitoring techniques. This information is also used by Natural England and the Southern and Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities to manage and protect seagrass beds.

We would like to thank the many partnership organisations who have contributed historical data or assisted on surveys. These include the Southern and Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities, the National Oceanography Centre, the Environment Agency, the Isle of Wight Council and Seasearch divers.

Get involved

If you spot any seagrass beds, whether on land or on water, let us know by emailing marine.enquiries@hiwwt.org.uk.