Yarmouth mooring trials to protect seagrass beds

By Chris Cornford Feb 16, 2021

Two types of environmentally friendly moorings, known as Advanced Mooring Systems (AMS), have been installed near Yarmouth Harbour.

They are part of a trial, being carried out by the LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES project, a marine conservation scheme to protect and restore the seabed, at five areas along England’s south coast. It is funded by the LIFE programme and led by Natural England in partnership with The Royal Yachting Association, Marine Conservation Society, Ocean Conservation Trust and Plymouth City Council/Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum.

The two new moorings, provided by the manufacturers of the Seaflex and Stirling systems, will be used in place of two of Yarmouth’s existing chain moorings which can damage important seabed habitats like seagrass meadows. These meadows provide homes for juvenile fish and protected creatures like seahorses and stalked jellyfish, as well as capturing and storing carbon.
Fiona Crouch of Natural England, who manages the LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES Project, said: “Our project focuses on improving the condition of sensitive habitats such as seagrass.
“One area we’re particularly interested in is the impact of recreational activities, including boating, have on the seabed. Advanced Mooring Systems are one of the practical, innovative ways we’re exploring to reduce any seabed damage which can occur.

“Watching how these AMS perform in Yarmouth, where the tide and weather will provide a rigorous test, is an exciting development that will provide vital information for how we introduce them more widely.”

Yarmouth Harbour Master, Tim Adams, added: “Yarmouth Harbour Commissioners are excited to be involved with the ReMEDIES project to protect this important and sensitive habitat.
“Our trial of two different types of Advanced Mooring Systems could lead to healthier seagrass beds, not only around Yarmouth, but elsewhere around the Island and beyond.”
Seagrass meadows are a declining habitat which are easily damaged – it is estimated that as much as 92 per cent of the UK’s seagrass has been lost over the last century. The Island is home to important seagrass beds and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) are monitoring seagrass as part of their Secrets of the Solent project.

Find out more about LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @EULIFERemedies.