Anchoring the eelgrass

I’m just back from a filming trip to Dorset. The weather wasn’t great but I managed a couple of days’ diving at Studland Middle beach. I’ve dived here during August for several years and it’s interesting to see how things are changing.

A lot of the animals I’ve seen before were absent: no juvenile black bream, no red mullet, no 15-spine sticklebacks, no undulate rays, and sadly, no seahorses.

I did find a few pipefish, sole, spider crabs, juvenile cuttlefish, gobies and sea bass but that was about it.

While I dived, around 100 yachts were anchored in the eelgrass area of Studland bay. Do anchors damage eelgrass? There are differing opinions on this, but here’s a clear picture of the damage one anchor caused.

I don’t think anchors are the only reason for Studland’s decline, but I do think digging up the eelgrass is a contributory factor. I hope the third tranch of MPAs takes on this controversial site and pushes for the installation of a seabed-friendly mooring system.


Images and words by Andy

NB: Any TV or news agencies who wish to broadcast this anchor footage, please get in touch. I’ll be glad to offer it free of charge to help protect our fragile seagrass habitats everywhere.

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