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Planting begins on UK’s biggest seagrass restoration project off North Wales coast

Seagrass beds around the shore of Porthdinllaen, Wales.

Posted on March 1, 2023

Planting has begun on the UK’s biggest seagrass restoration project on the seabed off the North Wales coastline.

The aim of the project is to plant more than five million seagrass seeds by 2026 which will grow ten hectares of meadow, the equivalent of more than 10 rugby pitches

Seagrass absorbs and stores carbon dioxide and one hectare can shelter up to 80,000 fish and 100 million invertebrates.

Around 100,000 seeds will be planted at Penychain in Pen Llyn, with the help of the local community, before restoration work will continue at other sites along the Pen Llyn coast this spring, and at sites on Anglesey in 2024.

The project began last August with the collection of the seeds from Porthdinllaen by Seagrass Ocean Rescue.

The work is managed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), in partnership with Project Seagrass, Swansea University, North Wales Wildlife Trust and Pen Llyn.

The project has received a £1m grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and in December was granted a marine licence to conduct restoration trials.

Beyond creating a habitat for marine species, the project’s organisers hope that communities will be protected from the effects of coastal erosion, flooding and poor water quality.

Divers and volunteers from project seagrass gather seeds quickly and efficiently. During this first stage of the project they aim to collect around one million seeds. Pic: Lewis Jefferies / WWF-UK

‘Hugely significant’

Julie Rostan, ocean recovery advocacy and policy manager at WWF Cymru, said: “The UK has lost up to 92% of its seagrass in the last century.

“It is vital that we bring this important habitat back to Welsh seas so it can help us mitigate the impact of climate change and restore marine wildlife.

“We are excited to get started on the planting in Penychain this week with the local community who are at the heart of the project’s design and delivery.

“This restoration programme is hugely significant as it will act as a blueprint for future seagrass restoration across the UK and globally”.

Andrew White, director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales, added: “This is a project for today’s and future generations with its community focus, the restoration of marine habitat and significant role in addressing the climate emergency. We’re thrilled to see it pass such an important milestone.”


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