Seagrass

Seagrass 

Seagrass is a flowering plant that grows in the sea. It is more closely related to plants on land than to seaweed. It creates a unique habitat that provides many benefits to other wildlife and people. 

Seagrass has horizontal roots that connect plants to form a dense mat on the sea floor. 

What does seagrass provide? 

  • Climate regulation
  • Water quality 
  • Products from nature 
  • Nursery populations and habitats 
  • Cultural services 

 

What does seagrass do for us? 

Carbon storage 

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 seagrass in England stores the amount of carbon produced by return flights for 3,500 passengers from London to New York. 

Sediment and nutrient removal 

Seagrass meadows act as filters, trapping sediment, nutrients, and pollutants in their root structure and dramatically improving water quality. 

Seagrass beds in England remove 17 Olympic swimming pools worth of sediment and excess nutrients from the water each year. 

Biodiversity 

Seagrass provides a home, place to reproduce and a safe nursery for many species, including some rare and endangered ones. 

Many species reproduce in the seagrass and use it to raise their young. 

Food from wild caught fish 

Healthy seagrass supports many commercial species, ensuring a continuing supply of the fish we eat. 

Seagrass habitats provide valuable nursery habitat for 21.5% of the top 25 wild caught fish species globally. 

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. 

 

Threats and pressures 

Declining water quality 

  • Murky water 
  • Excess nutrients 

Recreational impacts

  • Trampling
  • Anchoring 
  • Digging 
  • Swing moorings 

How can we help seagrass? 

  • Reduce pollution 
  • Voluntary no access zones 
  • Advanced mooring systems 
  • Seagrass planting 

 

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.