It’s International Seagrass Day

POSTED ON March 1, 2024

Seagrass is a wonder plant, the only true flowering plant in the sea

Largest-ever Scottish seagrass planting programme launched by unique partnership – NatureScot

Restoring nature in Scotland’s seas will get a more than £2m funding boost, NatureScot announced today (1 March), detailing a new partnership to protect and restore Scottish seagrass meadows, with support from SSEN Distribution. This is believed to be the largest-ever single donation to marine enhancement in Scotland.

This new, innovative nature finance initiative, between the Scottish Marine Environmental Enhancement Fund (SMEEF) and SSEN, comes just in time for World Seagrass Day today (1 March), and is a great example of business and the public sector joining forces to tackle the nature and climate emergencies.

Since it was established, SMEEF has secured and awarded more than £3.3m to marine enhancement in Scotland. Ethical considerations are hugely important, so all proposals go through a bespoke due diligence process to underpin confidence in the programme. The partnership with SSEN is a successful example of this process.

Seagrass is a wonder plant, the only true flowering plant in the sea. The meadows it creates in shallow and intertidal waters are home to a bewildering array of wildlife and are often likened to rainforests because of the thousands of species they provide food and shelter for. Scottish seas are a special place for marine habitats like seagrass, with our coast stretching 18,000 km and containing 8,000 species or more.

But seagrasses have been declining globally since the 1930s, with estimates that 7% of seagrass meadows are being lost each year. This exciting initiative will see at least 14ha of seagrass planted in Scottish coastal waters.

The Fund, part of SMEEF’s wider work on Scottish coastal, seabed and marine enhancement, will be open for applications later this year. Projects will be driven by local communities and full engagement and consultation with all interested groups will be essential to their success. SMEEF will work with a range of experts to ensure that the grants are used to best effect and the impacts monitored.

To find out more, see the SMEEF website and email to join the mailing list for updates and notifications about grant rounds.


Photo: A diver collecting a core sample from a seagrass bed in the Sound of Barra. © Ben James-NatureScot

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