Seagrass (John Archer-Thomson)

Seagrass Ocean Rescue

Seagrass Ocean Rescue involved Sky Ocean Rescue, WWF, Cardiff University, Swansea University, Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum and the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC Officer and was the first full scale seagrass restoration project in the UK. The aim of the project was to restore seagrass in a small experimental two-hectare area (approximately two rugby pitches) in collaboration with local people in Dale in West Wales within the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC.

Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum and the Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation Officer’s roles were to ensure that local users and the community were properly involved, so that those who enjoy or work in the sea around Dale had the opportunity to share their views and help decide on the location for the restoration trial.

Over one million seeds were planted in the agreed restoration site off Dale during 2020. Buoyage marks the boundaries of the site and includes visitor mooring buoys as a facility for visiting vessels to discourage anchoring within the site. A website set up by the Dale Seagrass Stakeholder Group accepts online voluntary donations for users to aid future provision of the visitor buoys and aid management of the site.

In September 2021, monitoring concluded that the Seagrass Ocean Rescue project was now ecologically on a strong footing as seagrass in Dale was seen to be increasing in density and now existed throughout the restoration area. It is anticipated that over the coming years seagrass density will increase and continued monitoring is required to assess this.

As much as 92% of the UK’s seagrass has been lost, restoring it is vital for ocean health. Seagrass has huge benefits. It can protect coasts, improve water filtration, support increased fisheries, increase biodiversity and fight climate change. Further information on seagrass and continuing Seagrass Ocean Rescue work can be found from Project Seagrass.

The Dale Seagrass Stakeholder Group can be contacted via the Chair Fil Marshall or Secretary (SAC Officer).

The purpose of this Stakeholder Group is to shape the Seagrass Ocean Rescue Project and share the latest information and updates on the project’s progress. Group meetings provide a forum for facilitated comment and discussion where questions can be raised and answers provided, and to help to inform and clarify the next stages of the project. The Group is an advisory group, not a decision-making body but it is able to influence certain elements of the project. Members of the Group will liaise with project partners and Swansea University as lead body and ensure that the Memorandum of Understanding between Swansea University and the Group is upheld and that processes are transparent and understood in the wider community. Please see the group’s Terms of Reference.

Information from meetings held is as follows:

  • 9 March 2022 – Dale Seagrass Stakeholder Group Notes
  • 15 December 2021 – Dale Seagrass Stakeholder Group Notes and Presentation
  • 3 March 2021 – Dale Seagrass Stakeholder Group Notes
  • 23 November 2020 – Dale Seagrass Stakeholder Group Notes and Update Presentation
  • 14 July 2020 – Dale Seagrass Stakeholder Group Notes  and Presentation showing seagrass update and visitor mooring location slides

Contact the SAC Officer for further information on the project, stakeholder engagement planning, and lessons learnt.

Dale seagrass signage buoy (Sue Burton)