Falmouth Harbour and the Ocean Conservation Trust have marked out sensitive marine habitats of seagrass and maerl.
Above the water, a clear line of new yellow marker buoys shows watercraft in the harbour and bay where sensitive areas of seabed are located.
Seagrass is deemed a “wonder-plant”, vital for marine life which depends on its meadows for food and shelter and vital to the health of seas and the environment as it captures carbon up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests.
Yet a study by University College London estimates at least 44% of the UK’s seagrass has been lost since 1936 with pollution, mining, and farming as well as dredging, bottom trawling, anchoring and coastal development all contributing to the decline.
“Boats anchoring over seagrass and maerl beds have a physical impact,” explained Falmouth Harbour’s environment manager Vicki Spooner, “and since the vast majority of marine leisure users want to do their bit to protect the environment, we hope the new marker buoys will raise awareness of where the sensitive areas are.
“The new yellow buoys replace the seasonal marks on the water and have the dual impact of delineating to vessels where other activities are taking place as well as the sensitive seabeds. Specifically, along Falmouth’s Swanpool, Gyllyngvase and Castle beaches they’ll show where swimmers, kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders – are likely to be active and mark the 4-knot limit. These additional buoys should really help with managing safety in Falmouth Bay.”
Falmouth Harbour CEO, Miles Carden, added: “This important project will help harbour users to understand where the seagrass is and start a conversation about how we can change behaviours to help Seagrass thrive: we hope marking the areas of seagrass and maerl will encourage harbour users to approach us with ideas on how we can continue to enjoy our beautiful environment whilst reducing impacts on sensitive ocean habitats that we know are a really valuable asset to us all.”