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Valeport celebrates World Seagrass Day

Posted 29 February 2024  |  News

Valeport is proud to join the global community celebrating World Seagrass Day on 1st March 2024 - a day recognised by the United Nations in order to highlight the importance of these marine habitats.

For a number of years Valeport has supported seagrass conservation projects and we are a current sponsor of LIFE ReMEDIES, a 2.5 million, four-year marine conservation project to Save Our Seabed through seagrass restoration, education, and innovation at five Special Areas of Conservation in Southern England.

We have been watching with interest ReMEDIES activities which include England’s largest seagrass restoration project delivered by the Ocean Conservation Trust (OCT) and we are pleased to be able to share an update on their progress.

  • Approximately 6 hectares of seabed has now been planted with seagrass since the ReMEDIES project was launched in 2019
  • Of this 5.6 hectares, 2 hectares are in the Plymouth Sound and 1.4 hectares in the Solent Maritime
  • An impressive 8 million seagrass seeds have been planted in these locations over the last four years using three different methods of planting including hessian seed bags, seagrass pillows and direct seed injection.

During summer 2023 seagrass seeds were collected by divers from healthy seagrass meadows in the Solent and Cornwall. These seeds were extracted and stored in the ReMEDIES cultivation laboratory at the National Marine Aquarium (NMA) in Plymouth until they were ready to plant.

Having previously trialled the use of hessian seed bags and seagrass pillows, last year OCT introduced a new method of planting called direct seed injection. This innovative process uses a specially developed mastic gun to rapidly and directly, inject a seed mixture into the sediment of the seabed in areas of the Plymouth Sound.

OCT’s Habitat Restoration Team are monitoring these newly planted areas and need to harvest more seagrass seeds to be able to continue with the deployment of seeds to reach the project target of planting 8 hectares by October 2024.

In addition to seagrass restoration, the ReMEDIES project continues with:

  • The installation of Voluntary No Anchor Zones, with one to be installed in Osbourne Bay in the Solent in March 2024
  • Further work on Advanced Mooring Systems (AMS) installations
  • Continuing engagement on reducing recreational impacts with presence at events and shows
  • As well as spreading the ReMEDIES message through conferences and workshops, including at the World Seagrass Conference in June 2024, where ReMEDIES partners will be presenting and contributing to seagrass restoration and recovery internationally and sharing lessons learnt.

We thank OCT, the ReMEDIES project and all those involved in playing an important role in advancing seagrass conservation efforts globally. Seagrass is essential for maintaining the balance of our oceans and is a cornerstone of healthy coastal ecosystems. We look forward to hearing more about the progress of the ReMEDIES project as it heads towards its conclusion in October 2024 and how it will help to contribute to the preservation and restoration of seagrass habitats, ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.