It is no surprise to anyone that knows anything about marine biology that seagrass meadows are important habitats. It seems, though, that researchers must demonstrate to governments and policy makers that seagrass meadows are important for their economic value in order to protect them.
I’ve dived on seagrass meadows from the Red Sea to Fiji and found them entirely fascinating, full of fish and other species, and well worth protecting for their intrinsic value. However, everything seems to need a dollar value these days and researchers are demonstrating that seagrass meadows are necessary to maintain and support fishing activities.
In a report from Stockholm University, Cardiff University, and Swansea University researchers state:
“Depending on location, the diversity of target species varies from a few species to basically anything one can find that can be eaten, sold or used as bait. Given that seagrass meadows are widely threatened and loss occurs at alarming rates, further degradation of these ecosystems should not be an option as it may severely diminish seagrass fisheries.”
In an accompanying press release, co-author Dr Richard Unsworth, Swansea University says:
“The ecological value of seagrass meadows is irrefutable, yet their loss continues at an accelerating rate. Now there is growing evidence globally that many fisheries associated to seagrass are unrecorded, unreported and unmanaged, leading to a tragedy of the seagrass commons”.
You can read the entire article here: