Marine habitats are the cornerstone of the fishing industry despite all the new technologies, say the scientists from the Stockholm University. One of such important habitats is the nursery grounds in seagrass meadows, they are just a healthy base.
Nursery grounds in seagrass meadows are a safer, less exposed, environment for eggs to be laid and young animals to find food and protection from predators as they grow. The very fact that they are there means that there are places for commercial fish stocks such as tiger prawns, conch, Atlantic cod and white spotted spinefoot to be caught by global fisheries. In fact, a fifth of the world’s most landed fish – including Atlantic cod and Walleye pollock – benefit from the persistence of extensive seagrass meadows.
But it is not just large-scale fishing industries that benefit from the presence of seagrass meadows. As they are an easily accessible fishing ground, small-scale artisanal and subsistence fisheries around the world also use them.
Seagrass as an important and healthy base for the global fishing industry
While seafood consumption is both a love and a necessity for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, seagrass is also essential for communities that take part in gleaning – fishing for invertebrates such as sea cucumbers in water that is shallow enough to walk in. This is often done by women and children and provides a source of essential protein and income for some of the most vulnerable people in tropical coastal communities.
It is a common and increasingly visible activity, but it is not usually included in fishery statistics and rarely considered in resource management strategies.
The coastal distribution of seagrass means that it is vulnerable to a multitude of threats from both land and sea. These include land runoff, coastal development, boat damage and trawling. On a global scale, seagrass is rapidly declining, and when seagrass is lost associated fisheries and their stocks are likely to become compromised with profound and negative economic consequences.