Fal and Helford – Seagrass
Seagrass is a flowering plant that grows in the sea. It is more closely related to plants on land than to seaweed.
Horizontal roots connect plants together to form a mat on the seafloor.
It forms dense underwater meadows in sheltered coastal areas with gentle currents.
There is around 1.1 kilometers squared of seagrass in the Fal and Helford Special Area of Conservation.
Our seagrass habitats are in decline, due to poor water quality and disturbance.
What does seagrass do for us?
Seagrass takes up carbon for growth and stores large quantities in its roots. It is globally important for its potential to mitigate climate change.
Each year Fal and Helford seagrass stores the amount of carbon produced by return flights from Newquay to the Isles of Scilly for 1,800 passengers
Sediment and nutrient removal
Seagrass meadows act as filters trapping sediment, nutrients and pollutants in their root structure and dramatically improving water quality.
Every year Fal & Helford seagrass removes an Olympic swimming pools worth of sediment and excess nutrients from the water.
Seagrass provides a home, place to reproduce and a safe nursery for many species, including some rare and endangered ones.
9 fish species reproduce in the Fal & Helford seagrass.
4 fish species use the Fal & Helford seagrass as a nursery.
Food from wild caught fish
Healthy seagrass supports many commercial species, ensuring a continuing supply of the fish we eat.
37% of wild caught fish species in the Fal and Helford are associated with seagrass.
Human happiness and wellbeing
Clear, clean seas rich in biodiversity provide greater opportunities for recreational activities and other benefits for people’s happiness and wellbeing.
How can we help seagrass in the Fal and Helford?
Voluntary no anchor zone
Each anchoring by a boat can potentially dislodge 4 seagrass plants
In popular anchoring areas, this could damage a significant area of the seagrass bed over time
Advanced mooring systems
Traditional swing moorings damage large areas of seagrass as the chain scours the seabed. Scars are created and carbon storage is reduced. Advanced moorings avoid this.
The scar from 1 swing mooring stops the carbon equivalent of 3 return car journeys from Falmouth to Truro being stored each year.
ReMEDIES project information
Reducing and Mitigating Erosion and Disturbance Impacts affecting the Seabed.
The LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES project (LIFE18 NAT/UK/000039) is financially supported by LIFE, a financial instrument of the European Commission.
The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Natural England and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Union.