Anchoring With Care
WHAT IS THE ISSUE?
Anchoring is an essential part of boating, whether you are stopping for lunch or sheltering from stormy conditions. It is important for recreational boaters to be aware of protected seabed habitats around the coastline and ensure best practice is adopted to help minimise any impacts anchoring activities can have on these sensitive habitats.
Since July 2019, the RYA and The Green Blue along with other organisations have partnered with Natural England as part of a four year EU LIFE funded project known as LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES Project. As part of this project The Green Blue programme is helping to raise awareness of the importance of seagrass and maerl seabed habitats and the best practice recreational boating can adopt to help preserve and restore these habitats.
WHY DO SEABED HABITATS NEED OUR PROTECTION?
Intertidal and subtidal sandbanks and mudflats of European importance are habitats to a number of protected species such as seahorses, stalked jellyfish and rare seaweeds. Seagrass and Maerl beds are key habitats of the seabed, most at risk from damage and many sites in the UK are currently classed in unfavourable condition.
Seagrass (Zostera species)
- One of the most rapidly declining habitats on earth
- Scarce in UK seas
- Provide important nursery grounds for fish
- Healthy seagrass beds store significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, helping mitigate climate change impacts.
- Seagrass helps anchor and stabilise sediment reducing coastal erosion.
Maerl beds (Phymatolithon calcareum)
- Slow growing (<1mm/yr.) and are very fragile.
- Have a very limited distribution in England.
- Creates a very diverse habitat and supports an abundance of species.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
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UK SEAGRASS AND MAERL BED LOCATIONS
If you are planning a boating trip why not find out where these protected seagrass and maerl beds are located to better inform you of where to be more vigilant when considering an anchorage spot.
Use these interactive maps to help locate seagrass and maerl beds across the UK:
- Seagrass (Zostera Linnaeus) Locations – MPA Reality Check Map – Select ‘seagrass’ in layers tab.
- Maerl (lithothamnion corallioides) Locations – National Biodiversity Network Atlas
Seagrass locations in four of the LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES Project sites (Isles of Sicily, Falmouth and Helford Estuaries, Plymouth Sound and Estuaries and the Solent) can also be seen in the maps below:
PLYMOUTH SOUND AND ESTUARIES
SEAGRASS AND MAERL LOCATIONS
FALMOUTH AND HELFORD ESTUARIES
ISLES OF SICILY