With the help of recreational fishers and local community members, OzFish has empowered Adelaideans to replant a record 15,000 seagrass seeds along its beaches as their annual Seeds For Snapper – Seagrass restoration project.
During the month-long program, over 350 volunteers walked the beaches daily in search of seagrass fruits that washed ashore before placing them in a pop-up facility that stored the fruits while they separated.
The seeds were then harvested and individually placed into sandbags before being dropped in areas where the seagrass has degraded.
As the program concludes its second year, OzFish and its army of underwater gardeners have now dropped 800 sandbags into the water, which equates to0.8 hectare of coverage on the seafloor, making Seeds For Snapper one of the largest community-led seagrass restoration projects in the country.
OzFish Senior Program Manager for SA, Dr Michael Sierp, said the work that was achieved this year will go a long way to support the local fish populations.
“By deploying the seeded sandbags, we are not only creating more habitat for juvenile fish to breed, feed and seek shelter but are improving the water quality and stabilising the sand,” said Michael.
“The sandbags will also catch seedlings of Amphibolis seagrass that float past and get hooked on to the fibres. These are all important factors that will enhance the underwater ecosystem in the region,” he said.
Tony Flaherty, Coastal Team leader for Green Adelaide, said that the project would not be possible without volunteers.
“A summers day beachcombing is a really simple, effective way to give back to our marine environment. With 500 bags distributed this year alone with more than 15,000 seeds, it just goes to show what can be achieved when the community gets involved in habitat restoration,” said Tony.
OzFish Unlimited has partnered with organisations of all types to help restore lost seagrass meadows including Green Adelaide, the Cruising Yacht Club of South Australia, Estuary Care Foundation, the Environment Protection Authority SA, South Australian Research Development Institute and BCF – Boating, Camping, Fishing.