Each year around Christmas time, OzFish Unlimited volunteers comb the beach and water to collect seagrass fruit. Inside the fruit, seagrass seeds wait to be released and germinate into new plants. The fruit is transferred to tanks where seeds are released and collected. These seeds are then sowed by volunteers into biodegradable sandbags that are transferred back into the ocean at locations guided by marine experts.
Known as a nursery habitat, seagrass provides places for juvenile snapper to hide from larger predators. For more mature snapper, seagrass also provides cover as they hunt for food.
Seagrass habitat has been eroded over time by pollution, warming temperatures and damage from extreme storm events, and with it the safe environment it once provided for growing snapper and other marine creature populations.
Seagrass restoration not only benefits snapper but also helps fight against climate change. The plant is highly efficient at drawing down carbon out of the atmosphere. Through photosynthesis, one square metre of seagrass can create 10 litres of oxygen a day and can store as much as 35 times more carbon than rainforests. Seagrass habitats have been valued as the third most valuable ecosystem in the world ahead of rainforests.
Amongst the 12 known snapper populations across Australia, four have been noted as depleted (including two in South Australia) while another is recovering. With some snapper populations under threat, collaborative efforts like this help to support habitat regeneration.
Over 500 sandbags were placed into the ocean in 2022 and the team are looking to broaden efforts in 2023 as they expand into regional areas.
With healthier seagrass habitats, South Australian volunteers are not only assisting snapper populations to move toward sustainable levels, the climate is also gaining a boost. Win-win.
How you can help
Volunteer your time to help care for nature like planting seagrasses or trees as part of Planet Ark’s National Tree Day .
Support organisations providing solutions and demand governments take steps to conserve and financially back measures to improve ecosystems
Eat more plant-based meals through-out the week to reduce the drain on limited fishery resources
When buying fish, buy products and visit restaurants with certified sustainable ingredients.
Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.