Seagrass meadows provide key habitat for diverse and abundant faunal assemblages and support numerous ecosystem functions and services that are vital to Sustainable Development and meeting the SDGs more broadly. However, not all seagrass is created equal and its vital to know which seagrass is important for meeting certain goals, for example, support for healthy small-scale fisheries.
"Its vital that we know which species offer the most returns when investing in management to meet Sustainable Development" says lead author Benjamin Jones, Director of International Operations for Project Seagrass
The research, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, found that seagrass meadows that offered the most support to fish targeted by small-scale fisheries were characteristically long leafed and in deeper water up to around 5m. If conserving high value species that support adjacent fisheries is the priority for protecting seagrass meadows, then seagrass areas should be chosen with high cover and structural complexity that are in deeper waters.
"In short, the bigger the better. Protecting larger seagrass species, in terms of their length, provides much more benefits for fish than smaller seagrass species. Especially the fish that are important for small-scale fishers for both food and income."
You can download the open access research here