Seagrass plays an important role for both humans and sea creatures. Despite, it’s currently under enormous threat. Even though people are aware of the ocean being contaminated, not everyone knows about these secret gardens under the sea. The Seagrass Initiative is doing ‘Project Seagrass’ and during the Easter break they have a stand on an event called ‘Sea The Difference’, which will take place in the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth.
Seagrass can provide a natural sea defence by trapping sediment and slowing down currents and waves. It is a home for sea creatures such as seahorse, pipefish, anemones and more and it increases biodiversity by providing food and shelter for other important marine life. 40 times more animals live in seagrass beds than the surrounding bare sand. Seagrass is not only necessarily for sea creatures, but also for humans as it produces the oxygen we breathe.
The secret gardens under the sea are one of the fastest disappearing habitats on Earth with a decrease of 7% per year worldwide. “Even though it’s not on purpose, it’s us who are destroying it. Anchors are a big cause, they can rip up seagrass along with their vast roots. Walking over the seagrass can break it and damage the fragile leaves and they can also get cut by propellers on high speed boats,” says Paul Botterill, host supervisor at the National Marine Aquarium. “Waste can smother the plants and reduce their growth.”
Best foot forward
By making some small changes in our pattern of life, we can help saving the seagrass and the ocean. Cleaning products with high phosphate levels can increase nutrients and cause marine algae to grow. Using eco-friendly cleaning products is a big step forward. Also eating organic might help. Avoid buying bottom trawled and dredged seafood, these fishing methods can physically damage seagrass.