Save our Seagrass

Marine life could bounce back by 2050, according to new study

Date posted: 2 April 2020

According to scientists in a new study, marine life could bounce back from the degrading effects of climate change by 2050. The study suggests that in one human generation, marine life could rebound by as much as 50-90%. The cheering results of the research highlight that, though this will be no mean feat, with urgent and ambitious conservation measures life underwater can thrive once more.

© Jeremy Bishop

The study outlines a number of measures which could drastically improve the state of our seas, including better management of fisheries, creating more Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and restoring valuable underwater habitats such as seagrass meadows and kelp forests. The scientists said the focus should be on rebuilding depleted wildlife populations and ecosystems, not simply on conserving what remains, and efforts to remove pressure on the oceans must be expanded.

Lead author Carlos Duarte, professor of marine science at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, said: “We have a narrow window of opportunity to deliver a healthy ocean to our grandchildren’s generation, and we have the knowledge and tools to do so.”

At MCS, alongside campaigning for MPAs to be better protected and managed to ensure that all damaging activities are limited, in order to allow the environment to bounce back, we have just launched the ‘Save Our Seagrass’ appeal. The project will ensure over 75 advanced moorings replace traditional, damaging anchoring methods and allow seagrass around the south coast of England to recover.

Seagrass is an incredibly valuable plant, and the seagrass meadows an important ecosystem. The flowering plant absorbs 10% of the carbon buried in ocean sediment every year, making it a brilliant weapon in the fight to halt the warming of the planet. Commonly found around the UK’s coast in shallow, sheltered areas, marine meadows are highly productive ecosystems and biodiversity hotspots. Seagrass meadows are home to the two species of seahorses that live in UK waters and are breeding grounds for cuttlefish and sharks, and nurseries for cod, plaice and pollock. By replacing traditional mooring systems with these upgraded advanced mooring systems, the damage done to seagrass meadows whilst boats bob on the surface will be limited, allowing the meadows to regrow and thrive. In doing so, the plant will be able to support the fight against climate change by absorbing carbon.

Click here to find out more about the ‘Save Our Seagrass’ appeal.

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