The ReSOW UK project brings together teams from the National Oceanography Centre and the Universities of Cardiff, Swansea and Stirling. Project partners include the Marine Management Organisation, Natural Resources Wales, the Environment Agency, the Global Oceans Accounts Partnership, the Centre for Climate, the Environment and Chronology, Natural England and the Scottish Coastal Communities Network. This project will facilitate informed management and restoration of seagrass for sustainable social, environmental and economic net gains for the UK.
The UK Government has recognised the need for Nature Based Solutions to climate change to form a significant component of the UKs target of reaching Net Zero emissions by 2050. Seagrass meadows create a highly efficient and long-term store of carbon in their marine sediments, providing an opportunity for their restoration to become a key contributor to these solutions. Moreover, in a time of changing management of our UK fisheries, the restoration and recovery of the nation’s seagrass meadows provides an opportunity to improve support for fisheries productivity through enhanced fish nursery habitat for important species, such as the Atlantic Cod.
These powerhouses of our coastal seas have been a neglected ecosystem for decades and centuries, which has led to their large-scale degradation and loss. In the context of generally improving long-term water quality and improved management of our coastal seas, this loss of seagrass now provides an opportunity for renewal through large-scale restoration. The restoration of seagrass in the UK remains in its infancy; however, significant steps forward have already been made by the partners in project ReSOW. UK government regulators and nature agencies recognise that an evidence base and strategic vision are needed to make the case for restoration, in order to improve stakeholder support, leverage financial backing and ultimately lead to the ecological renewal of seagrass meadows to meet our national biodiversity and climate goals, whilst supporting our economy.