The Recreation ReMEDIES project, led by Natural England, will protect seagrass meadows – a critically endangered EU red listed habitat which can be easily damaged and slow to recover.
Seagrass is threatened by anchoring, mooring and launching of recreational boats, as well as trampling from walkers and bait collectors. The project will provide environmentally friendly moorings, voluntary codes, targeted training and habitat restoration, in five areas across southern England, including the Solent.
Responding to the announcement of this new £2.5m project, Tim Ferrero, marine specialist at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, commented: “Seagrass beds are immensely important for both people and wildlife. Not only do they provide a home for a wide range of amazing species – like cuttlefish, seahorse and stalked jellyfish – but they also help tackle the climate emergency through absorbing masses of carbon; they support important local fisheries and help reduce coastal erosion.
“We are really fortunate to have such wonderful seagrass meadows in the Solent, but they are vulnerable to the effects of both industrial and recreational activity. The Solent is one of the liveliest strips of sea in the UK – people come to sail, surf, canoe, fish and swim. We know that so many people love the Solent and want to do more to care for our precious marine environment. The Wildlife Trust is currently working with hundreds of local people and organisations through our National Lottery Heritage Fund marine project, Secrets of the Solent – supporting and encouraging them to help look after our seas. We look forward to expanding on this activity through this exciting ‘Recreation ReMEDIES’ project.”