Valeport, has pledged its support to a campaign to protect the vital ‘underwater rainforest’ which is under threat off Tor Bay, on the SW coast of the UK.
To mark the hydrographic and oceanographic instrument manufacturer’s 50th anniversary, it will partner with a UK coastal zoo and aquarium to help protect seagrass, a remarkable plant that flowers underwater and forms dense meadows in shallow coastal areas. These meadows capture carbon at a greater rate than tropical forests, making them important in combating climate change. Like coral reefs and rainforests, these underwater gardens are full of life. And like those better-known habitats, they are under threat, with global estimates suggesting the planet loses an area of seagrass the same size as two football pitches every hour.
Valeport will be supporting the Living Coasts research project #SaveOurSeagrass helping to secure the project’s future for the next two years as well as providing instruments and expertise to the programme. The research project aims to protect the seagrass meadows in Tor Bay which is a vital nursery bed for young fish and also home to key species such as the short-snouted seahorse. These meadows are threatened by pollution and by indiscriminate anchoring, which can unknowingly rip plants from the seabed. Living Coasts is using the research to begin trialling seagrass cultivation with the aim of helping to replenish the threatened species and contributing to increased marine biodiversity.
Living Coasts Curator Clare Rugg said: “This is going to be a tremendous collaboration. Valeport’s support will allow us to continue our scientific research, aided by local volunteer divers who collect data on the seagrass. Living Coasts is testing ways to propagate seagrass, and we look forward to Valeport supporting our research with their instruments and expertise.”
Guy Frankland from Valeport added: “This new partnership is marking Valeport’s 50th anniversary, but it’s a natural fit for us as a designer and manufacturer of high-quality hydrographic and oceanographic instrumentation to join forces with a coastal conservation charity. We are delighted to support the important SaveOurSeagrass project and help save and protect a local habitat with international significance.”
Valeport’s collaboration with Living Coasts also includes opportunities for Valeport’s staff to get involved with activities from volunteer dives to beach cleans and it will be an important CSR focus for Valeport who has supplied the subsea sector for the last five decades.