Scilly Has Healthiest Seagrass Beds In The Country

seagrassImportant seagrass beds in Scilly are thriving, despite the ‘perilous’ state of similar habitats in the rest of the UK.

That’s according to a scientific paper published this week by Welsh scientists, Benjamin Jones and Richard Unsworth in the Royal Society’s Open Science journal.

It’s the first study to compare eleven sites around the British Isles including ones in the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man, Wales and the Isle of Wight.

They found that seagrass meadows here in Scilly contained plants with the longest and thickest leaves, an indication of their health.

The authors say Britain has seen an extensive loss of these beds, which provide an important habitat and breeding ground for fish.

They believe this is due to reduced water quality, coastal development and poor land use.

But they also warn that even Scilly’s pristine seagrass is under threat from damage by boats, particularly when dropping anchors.

The islands have been part of an annual study into the health of seagrass beds since 2002, the only study of its kind in the country.

Sites are being monitored at Old Grimsby Harbour and Broad Ledge on Tresco, Higher Town Bay off St Martin’s, Little Arthur in the Eastern Isles and West Broad Ledge between Tresco and St Martin’s.

Last year, Dr Jim Bull, from Swansea University said our meadows had recovered fully after taking some severe damage during the winter storms in 2014.



2 Responses to Scilly Has Healthiest Seagrass Beds In The Country

  1. Jann January 17, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    If boats, chains and anchors where that much of a problem there would be no “sedge” in the Harbour. It is like a lawn, some need raking, some need more cutting, some don’t flourish were you think they would.
    Studling Bay in Dorset they stop anchoring and it made no difference. They now allow it again after changing they minds??

  2. Jason Hicks January 14, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    I will never forget shrimping off the Hedge Rock on a large tide in 6 inches of water scooping them up in droves out of the sea grass. Over the years from about 96-2000 that bank got smaller and smaller eventually disappearing completely as did the prawn from that area. Not sure if these seagrass reefs can recover when they are gone all that well. Glad to hear they have stabilised, gives the prawns somewhere to grow!