A new study published in the journal Fish and Fisheries sheds some light on the importance of seagrass meadows in relation to fishing activities. These flowering plants are usually found in shallower waters near shorelines and as a result is under immense pressures worldwide. Found on every continent except Antarctica, these ecosystems are disappearing at the alarming rate of 7% per year.
Seagrass is an important ecosystem for young fish, a carbon “sink” for carbon dioxide, and a natural choice amongst fishermen. The study looked at case studies across the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Southeast Asia and found the conservation of seagrass meadows to be quite important to the sustainability of fishing activities.
One researcher, Dr. Leanne Cullen-Unsworth of Cardiff University, explains that while many people focus on seahorse conservation in seagrass meadows, there are many other equally important reasons to protect these areas. Leanne says, “Arguments in support of seagrass have in the past too often focused on the fluffy—such as the conservation of seahorses. I don't want to dismiss seahorses' importance, but the reality is that seagrasses have much higher value in supporting fisheries. And I’ve come across numerous occasions where fishermen have been against conservation of seagrasses because they can’t moor their boats in these locations when it's those seagrasses that support their activity in the first place. What we need to do is increase the level of understanding and appreciation of these habitats.”
Read more here.
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