Wave Shape
Wave Shape

Seagrass Ocean Rescue – North Wales – August 2023

Waves Shape

Seagrass Ocean Rescue – North Wales – August 2023

The project was launched in North Wales last summer with the aim to plant five million seeds across ten hectares in Pen Llŷn and Ynys Môn by 2026.In December, the project was granted a marine licence to conduct restoration trials after being awarded a £1 million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Healthy seagrass meadows are critical for biodiversity as they provide nursery grounds for commercially important fish such as cod and a range of species from octopus to seals. They also help protect against the impact of coastal erosion and help improve water quality.  The north Wales seagrass programme is hugely significant as it will set an example for future seagrass restoration across the UK and globally.

Over the last two weeks Seagrass Ocean Rescue has collected approximately 1 million seagrass seeds at Porthdinllaen with the help of local volunteers including SCUBA divers from the north-west and Furness Diving Club. Whilst diving on Friday, Climate Change Minister Julie James visited the project to see the seed collection in action.

In February work started on planting150,000 seagrass seeds on the south side of Pen Llŷn with the help of a team of volunteers. In April a further 50,000 seeds were planted by SCUBA divers in the subtidal zone at Y Gamlas (also known as Carreg y Defaid) on Pen Llŷn on top of the 50,000 seeds already planted higher on the shore.  Furness Diving Club supported the venture.

In June teams went back to these locations to see how the seagrass is doing and were excited to find that many seeds have turned into seedlings at both locations, with the highest number of seedlings at Y Gamlas. These results give us an initial indication that the sites are ecologically suitable for seagrass to grow, which is excellent news. In the months to come further monitoring will take place to see how well they fare over the summer, and whether they survive through the winter.

The first two weeks in August saw the next stage in the programme being undertaken – collecting seagrass seeds to plant next year from the meadows at Porthdinllaen.

Volunteer SCUBA divers, snorkellors and waders were engaged in the collection process from the inter tidal and sub tidal zones.  Furness Diving Club’s visit coincided with some good weather and it was a pleasure to dive from the sandy cove.

Further opportunities to plant and harvest seed will avail themselves next year for those wanting to get involved in a remarkable project.

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