Sally-Ann Hart MP to Champion Seagrass in Westminster
Date posted: 16 December 2020
Sally-Ann Hart, MP for Hastings and Rye has become the new ‘Species Champion’ for seagrass.
The Species Champion project, led by the RSPB, sees MPs from across the UK championing a variety of species, from hedgehogs to seabass. Sally-Ann Hart is our first species champion advocate, and we look forward to working together to raise the profile of seagrass in Parliament.
It’s time we unlock the potential of our coastlines to reach our 2050 goal of net zero emissions. We must reverse the loss of seagrass and marine wildlife, while simultaneously helping to provide our coastal communities with jobs and investment where it is needed most.Sally-Ann Hart,
MP for Hastings and Rye
As part of the project, MPs are encouraged to show their support through actions such as tabling parliamentary questions, raising the profile of their species during debates and wider activities to support the development of policy to help their species flourish.
Alice Watson, Public Affairs Officer says: “We’re thrilled to have Sally-Ann’s support for seagrass in Westminster. Seagrass plays such a vital part of our marine ecosystem and in the face of a climate crisis, we must secure its future in UK seas. With Sally-Ann championing the conservation and protection of this iconic species, we hope to see seagrass and blue carbon raise up the political agenda.”
Seagrass is one of the most important species in the sea for locking in carbon dioxide, making it a powerful tool to combat the climate emergency. Much like rainforests on land, seagrass habitats are able to absorb carbon and lock it into ocean sediment.
Seagrass meadows bring many other benefits. With rising sea levels causing coastal erosion, healthy seagrass blades protect the coastline by reducing the power of crashing waves. Seagrass beds are also essential nurseries and egg-laying habitats for species including cod, crabs, cuttlefish and sharks.
Sally-Ann Hart says: “In the UK, up to 92% of our wonder plant, seagrass, has disappeared over the last 100 years. Seagrass provides one of the most productive ecosystems in the world and I am thrilled to be representing the species in Westminster.”
Sally-Ann Hart shares our vision for addressing climate change and says: “It’s time we unlock the potential of our coastlines to reach our 2050 goal of net zero emissions. We must reverse the loss of seagrass and marine wildlife, while simultaneously helping to provide our coastal communities with jobs and investment where it is needed most.”
Working with partners, we are now part of a restoration project along England’s south coast called ReMEDIES. This project is EU-funded (LIFE) and led by Natural England, supported by The Royal Yachting Association, Ocean Conservation Trust, Plymouth City Council and us at the Marine Conservation Society. Together we will significantly increase the numbers of Advanced Mooring Systems, replacing traditional moorings (that scrape seagrass blades). We will monitor the impact of the moorings with Seasearch, and also – where possible – record the success of re-seeding of seagrass beds by the Ocean Conservation Trust.
To find out more about the ReMEDIES project visit their website here.