Thursday, 14 August 2014

Seagrass fish feeding grounds 'lost like rain forests'

12 August 2014 Last updated at 08:12

Seagrass is found just off the shoreline so is vulnerable to pollution and disturbance by marine anchors

Underwater fish "meadows" are being lost at the same rate as the Amazon rain forests, researchers have warned.

Seagrass is a key habitat for feeding and sheltering young fish, including plaice, haddock and pollock.

But every hour an area the size of two football pitches is destroyed.

Scientists from Swansea University believe the habitats need to be protected otherwise fishing stocks could be affected.

Lead researcher Dr Richard Unsworth says more sensitive boat mooring could help

"The rate of loss is equal to that occurring in tropical rainforests and on coral reefs yet it receives a fraction of the attention," said Dr Richard Unsworth, lead researcher.

"If you're a small fish, like a juvenile cod, then you need food and shelter. Seagrass meadows provide both."

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