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Great Big Green Week: Calls to use Seagrass Restoration Work as Catalyst for Change

In marking the Great Big Green Week, the Shadow Minister for Climate Change – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has praised the work being undertaken to reintroduce seagrass meadows along the coast of Wales. However, she has called for a greater collection of mapping data and urged the Welsh Government to give “due consideration” to marine spatial planning concerns so that this work is not undermined.

Seagrass is a plant that lives in shallow, sheltered areas along the coast and is known to capture carbon up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests. Even though it only covers 0.2% of the seafloor, studies show that it absorbs 10% of the ocean’s carbon each year. Likewise, a 10,000m2 area can support 80,000 fish and over a million invertebrates.

Underlining the need to take action to preserve our marine life, Janet said:

“There is between 30 and 40 times more sea life found in seagrass, compared to a patch of seafloor that doesn’t have vegetation. Having been a proponent of declaring a nature emergency, alongside the pressing climate emergency, I am clear that the introduction of seagrass meadows should be a tool utilised to restore and maintain the health of our marine environment. “In the UK, it is a most alarming fact that up to 92% of our seagrass has disappeared in the last century. However, Wales is home to pioneering and collaborative research that is looking to change this trend. Project Seagrass has planted over 750,000 seagrass seeds in Dale Bay in Pembrokeshire – but it is vital that this scientific study sparks further action. “Just as nature cannot play second fiddle to the climate, our marine habitats cannot be a secondary thought after those actions taken on land. The work on seagrass underlines what an essential tool our coastal areas are to combatting emissions. On Great Big Green Week, I wish to make clear that this restoration work should stand as a catalyst for change. “All habitat restoration work must be led by data. Whilst I am pleased to see that the Welsh Government are now open to completing holistic mapping of Strategic Resource Areas, as our seas are set to become even more crowded over coming years, it is vital that the administration in Cardiff Bay gives urgent and due consideration to marine spatial planning concerns.”

ENDS

Photo: Janet Finch-Saunders MS/AS

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