Yarmouth is pioneering marine project’s new moorings

14 January 2021

Two types of environmentally friendly moorings, known as Advanced Mooring Systems (AMS), have been installed in the Solent, near Yarmouth Harbour on the Isle of Wight.

They are part of a trial being carried out by the LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES project, a marine conservation project to protect and restore the seabed at five areas along England’s south coast. It is funded by the LIFE programme and led by Natural England in partnership with The Royal Yachting Association, Marine Conservation Society, Ocean Conservation Trust and Plymouth City Council/Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum.

The two new moorings, provided by the manufacturers of the Seaflex and Stirling systems, will be used in place of two of Yarmouth’s existing chain moorings which can damage important seabed habitats like seagrass meadows. These meadows provide homes for juvenile fish and protected creatures like seahorses and stalked jellyfish, as well as capturing and storing carbon.

Fiona Crouch of Natural England manages the LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES Project. She said: “Our project focuses on improving the condition of sensitive habitats such as seagrass. One area we’re particularly interested in is the impact of recreational activities, including boating, on the seabed, and Advanced Mooring Systems are one of the practical, innovative ways that we’re exploring to reduce any seabed damage that can occur. Watching how these AMS perform in Yarmouth, where the tide and weather will provide a rigorous test, is an exciting development that will provide vital information for how we introduce them more widely.”

Tim Adams, Yarmouth Harbour Master, said: “Yarmouth Harbour Commissioners are excited to be involved with the ReMEDIES project to protect this important and sensitive habitat. Our trial of two different types of Advanced Mooring Systems could lead to healthier seagrass beds, not only around Yarmouth but elsewhere around the island and beyond.”

Seagrass meadows are a declining habitat which are easily damaged – it is estimated that as much as 92 per cent of the UK’s seagrass has been lost over the last century. The Isle of Wight is home to important seagrass beds and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT) are monitoring seagrass all around the island as part of their Secrets of the Solent project.

Dr Tim Ferrero, Marine Conservation – Senior Specialist at HIWWT, said: “We are delighted to be working with ReMEDIES and stakeholders around the Solent to protect and restore one of the Solent’s stand-out habitats. Seagrass meadows are magical places to see and appreciate, but it’s important to do that without causing any harm. The use of AMS can make an important contribution to this aim so that we can all enjoy the benefits of a healthier, cleaner, more productive and wilder Solent.”

Find out more about LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @EULIFERemedies.