A million seagrass seeds are due to be collected off the coast of Wales in an ambitious project to tackle the global climate and nature crisis.
It is the biggest seagrass restoration ever undertaken in the UK.
Using local volunteers, the aim is to plant more than five million seagrass seeds across ten hectares by the end of 2026.
This is the equivalent of over ten rugby pitches off the Welsh coast.
A single hectare of Welsh seagrass meadow has been found to contain 4,700 more fish and 28 million more invertebrates than bare sediment.
Seagrass is also very effective at absorbing and storing carbon dioxide. Globally it accounts for between 10 and 18 percent of total ocean carbon storage despite covering less than 0.1 percent of the seafloor.
In the first 10 days of August, Seagrass Ocean Rescue will collect approximately one million seagrass seeds at Porthdinllaen.
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.
Healthy meadows can also help protect against the impact of coastal erosion and help improve water quality.
The seeds collected this week will be planted at sites on Anglesey and Pen Llŷn next year.
The project has already planted over 100,000 seeds this Spring at selected sites on the coast of Pen Llŷn.
On Friday, the UK’s Climate Change Minister Julie James will visit the project to see the seed collection in action.
“The North Wales seagrass program is hugely significant as it will set an example for future seagrass restoration across the UK and globally.
Alison Palmer Hargrave, SAC Officer at Pen Llŷn a’r sarnau, added: “Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau Special Area of Conservation is home to some amazing marine life.
“Habitats such as seagrass are so important as they provide a wealth of benefits including production of oxygen and providing essential nursery grounds for fish that feed local fisheries.
“This project not only provides opportunities to get involved in the project but also to help steer the project by getting involved in the stakeholder group.”
Julie Rostan, Ocean Restoration Advocacy and Policy Manager at WWF Cymru, said:
“Not only can seagrass help transform Welsh seas, but we hope the project will cause a ripple across the planet and act as a blueprint for future seagrass restoration on a global scale.”
The National Lottery Heritage Fund is one of several funders which also include Garfield Weston Foundation and The Moondance Foundation.
Seagrass Ocean Rescue is managed by WWF in partnership with Project Seagrass, Swansea University, North Wales Wildlife Trust, and Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau SAC.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
(Additional reporting provided by Talker News)