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Cornwall first to contribute to global seagrass campaign

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Cornwall has become the first county to contribute data to global seagrass initiative #ProtectOurBeds, a new campaign digitally mapping sensitive seabed locations for marine users in the savvy navvy app.

Cornwall Council, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, and LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES are among three major contributors to the recently launched #ProtectOurBeds campaign, run by Cornwall-based not-for-profit Clean Sailors, the Ocean Conservation Trust and all-in-one boating navigation app savvy navvy. Data from Cornwall has been digitally mapped and is now live in the navigation app.

In the last two years, one of the largest seagrass beds in the UK, home to seahorses, pipefish and scallops, has been identified off the south coast of Cornwall in St Austell Bay, with other significant beds in the Fal and Helford and Mounts Bay areas.

Seagrass is an important marine habitat
Seagrass is an important marine habitat

Seagrasses combat climate change by absorbing and storing huge amounts of carbon, but are estimated to be the fastest disappearing habitat on the planet mainly due to avoidable human activity.

Councillor Martyn Alvey, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for environment and climate change, said: “With some of the UK’s largest seagrass meadows recently discovered off the Cornish coast, never before has it been so important that we work to raise awareness of their location; to protect and conserve them as one of the ocean’s most vital habitats. We contributed data on the locations of these seagrass meadows and no anchor zones to this campaign which champions responsible boating by letting marine-users know which areas to avoid.

Holly Manvell, founder of Clean Sailors, said: “There is lots of work already going on in Cornish waters to protect sensitive seabeds, so we are very proud to have Cornwall, the ocean-county of the UK, recognise the importance of our campaign and share key data with #ProtectOurBeds. Falmouth, too, was one of the first Town Council’s to declare a Motion for the Ocean, committing to put the ecological health of our sea central to decision-making. It’s a natural extension of our county’s ocean-mindedness, and we look forward to inspiring marine-users across key boating areas, such as Falmouth and the Helford, as conservationists as well as water-users.”

David Cusworth, Head of Innovation and Partnerships at savvy navvy, said: “It’s great seeing the seagrass coverage expanding in our app, with Cornwall’s valuable contribution. While savvy navvy is all about simplifying boating technology by making navigation safe and easy for everyone, innovative campaigns helping boaters to make better choices when out on the water is something we feel very strongly about.  As we break down barriers to boating and help people get out onto the water, we need to make sure we do so sustainably.”.

seagrass
Cornwall has enormous seagrass beds

The #ProtectOurBeds campaign is a Blue Meadows initiative and continues to look for global data partners for the next milestone of the project. All enquiries and applications can be directed to Clean Sailors.

Photo credit: Martin Stevens

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Mark Evans
Mark Evans
Scuba Diver's Editorial Director Mark Evans has been in the diving industry for nearly 25 years, and has been diving since he was just 12 years old. nearly 40-odd years later and he is still addicted to the underwater world.
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