According to a new study, seagrass fisheries provide a trustworthy safety net for disadvantaged people because fishermen believe certain environments can sustain significant fish yields over time.
Surprisingly, these meadwos offer much more so than small-scale fisheries like coral reef fisheries.
Seagrass meadows used for fishing ground
(Photo : Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Photo : Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Seagrass meadows are commonly exploited as a fishing habitat across the Indo-Pacific area, producing fish and other animals for sustenance, as well as money from fishing.
Recent research published in Ocean and Coastal Management looked into how and why families in Cambodia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia use seagrass meadows in the Indo-Pacific area, conducting interviews to find out which habitats they prefer.
Seagrass was the most prevalent environment exploited for fishing, according to Benjamin Jones, head of the marine conservation and research organization Project Seagrass and Ph.D. student at Stockholm University’s Department of Ecology, Environment, and Plant Sciences.
Fishing in seagrass was chosen by over half of the families the experts spoke with over other environments such as coral, mangroves, open ocean, mud, and rock.
This was surprising because most people think of reef fisheries as the most important tropical small-scale fishery, but the study showed that household participation in seagrass fisheries is significantly more common.
When the researchers questioned the fishermen why they chose seagrass, they said it was because it always provided significant catches, and fish and invertebrates were constantly there.
This is most likely related to the biological significance of seagrass meadows to fish.
They provide excellent nursery environments with plenty of hiding and growing areas for fish, resulting in a high number of fish.
The survey also discovered that three out of every 20 residents in the region relied only on seagrass meadows for their fishing and did not fish elsewhere.
The study of families in 147 communities also discovered that household income had a significant impact on reliance on seagrass meadows.
Benefits of seagrass to ecosystems
Because they alter their environs to produce distinct habitats, seagrasses are frequently referred to as foundation plant species or ecosystem engineers.
These changes not only make coastal environments more suited for seagrasses, but they also have substantial consequences for other creatures and offer ecological functions and benefits to people.
Humans have been using seagrasses for over 10,000 years.
They’ve been used to fertilize crops, insulate buildings, weave furniture, thatch roofs, manufacture bandages, and even fill beds and vehicle seats.
But it’s what they do in their natural environment that helps humans and the ocean the most.
Seagrasses support commercial fishing and biodiversity, as well as cleaning the water and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Seagrasses are renowned as the “lungs of the sea” because they can produce 10 liters of oxygen each day through photosynthesis on a single square meter.
Seagrass leaves absorb nutrients and impede water flow, trapping sand, dirt, and silt particles.
Their roots capture and stabilize silt, which improves water clarity and quality while also reducing erosion and protecting coasts from storms.
Seagrasses can enhance water quality even further by absorbing nutrients from land runoff.
Related article: Neptune Balls: Seagrass Acts as Natural Plastic Sifters in the Ocean
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