It takes vision to see the hidden potential of seagrass

by Aviva Community Fund | Feb 24, 2022 | Uncategorized

It takes vision to see the hidden potential of seagrass

Did you know seagrass is one of our best defences against climate change? One of our inspiring climate-focused Aviva Community Fund causes, Project Seagrass knows this all too well.

So, to show our support we’ve given them a boost and helped them raise over £19,000 towards their exploration into seagrass restoration across the UK. 

For centuries, coastal seagrass meadows provided communities with livelihoods, food security and medicines. They produce oxygen, clean our coastal water, absorb CO2 and help to keep our ocean healthy which stabilises the climate —both global and local. Not to mention, seagrass provides habitat and feeding grounds for thousands of species of fish, invertebrates, birds, reptiles and mammals.

The forgotten hero of carbon sequestration, you may be shocked to learn despite covering only 0.1% of the seafloor, seagrass is responsible for more than 10% of the organic carbon buried in the ocean. Which makes this next stat even more shocking: we have lost 35% of our seagrass globally since 1980. In the UK, we have lost at least 50% and as much as 92% in the last century.

That’s where Project Seagrass come in. Their mission is to replant and restore large areas of seagrass meadows that have been lost or damaged. This is done through collecting, processing and replanting seeds in viable areas, using a large-scale seagrass nursery to cultivate and harvest the seeds.

The Aviva funding is being used to grow and develop the seagrass nursery, running trials to refine the team’s approach to seagrass restoration. As seagrass aquarist, Elise de Tourtoulon-Adams, explains, “the nursery is allowing us to upscale and hopefully we can grow, cultivate and harvest seagrass seeds that are then used in our restoration projects.”

“This seagrass nursery is the first of its kind in the UK. A successful and productive nursery would allow us to cultivate and harvest seeds for our restoration projects on a much larger scale. The development and management of a nursery would allow the genetic diversity of seeds to be carefully planned and monitored, would significantly reduce the cost of seed collection, and would reduce the health and safety risks of current collection techniques. All of this will help Project Seagrass to reach the ambitious goal of restoring 2,500 hectares of UK by 2050.”

It’s an ambition the community in and around Laugharne Wales are very invested in, with local schools and charity groups visiting the project to learn and lend a hand.

With Aviva funding, Elise is optimistic about the potential the Seagrass Project has to make a huge impact on how we address climate change. “I get so excited for every single step that we make. This is an opportunity to create a blueprint for UK seagrass restoration to ensure future efforts are even more successful. Without investments like this, seagrass restoration at scale would not be possible.”

“Together we make things happen and we’re really proud of everything everyone does.” Elise’s words are a powerful reminder of the brighter future that’s possible. Getting there takes you. It takes Aviva.

You can dive into the details of Project Seagrass’s progress on their website. And if you have a project of your own that’s helping to transform our planet for the better, apply for the Aviva Community Fund today.