By Jean-Luc Solandt, Principal Specialist, Marine Protected Areas, Marine Conservation Society
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has released an interim project report on the re-growth of seagrass around Advanced Mooring Systems (AMS) placed into Cawsand Bay in May 2019. The report details the change in ecological conditions (density) of shoots around the new moorings.
How were the Advanced Mooring Systems installed?
Initial funding for up to 15 AMS came from Plymouth-based yacht manufacturer Princess Yachts in January 2018. At this time, the first discussions about the ReMEDIES project were progressing. Not a blade of seagrass had yet been planted! MCS worked with the Ocean Conservation Trust (OCT) in 2018 and early 2019 to get the right permissions and methods to install the first 5 moorings. The placement of new moorings is not a simple process. This work was trial and error, highlighting complications and informing the work of the wider ReMEDIES project. We met with local regulators, harbour authorities, Natural England, and the local boat owners at Cawsand.
A further 10 AMS were installed with funding from Princess Yachts and LIFE, through the ReMEDIES project. Installations took place in the Cawsand area, beginning in May 2019.
Stirling mooring, Cawsands. Image credit: Mark Parry
The strength of the moorings was of greatest concern to boat owners and the (now) King’s Harbour Master. They needed reassurance that the moorings would hold vessels securely. To ensure their safety, the chain was very long and thick, and the buoys were particularly large. We secured them with screwpiles driven over 3 metres into the sediment, replacing traditional concrete blocks. Local charter skipper George Grayden and his dive team developed a new, indeed revolutionary, technique for this task.
We started with something small. Now, over 20 boats operate on Advanced Mooring Systems throughout Plymouth, the Isle of Wight and Falmouth. We are learning by doing, and the teamwork involved is extensive. It is an example of people working together towards a common goal; the only way to make change in the conservation sector.
Credit: Falmouth Harbour Commissioners
We have planned another dive for May 2023 to mark the fourth anniversary year since installation. We hope to find re-growth of the seagrass.
Download the report
MCS has produced a report on the ecological condition of seagrass around 5 Stirling Advanced Mooring Systems introduced just before the start of the ReMEDIES project. It can be downloaded here.