Mitigation and adaptation to extreme weather conditions is particularly applicable to small islands.
Similar to several Indo-Pacific islands, the Maldives is committed to building a strong business case to protect tropical coastal wetlands given their importance for fish production, coastal protection, water purification and carbon storage (i.e., Blue Carbon). One solution to this is the cultivation of sea grass (angiosperms).
Sea grass produces oxygen, stabilises sediment, protects shorelines, and gives food and shelter to marine life. A sea grass meadow creates a home for up to 20 times more fish. Up to 100,000 fish can live in just one hectare of sea grass. 2.5 ac (1 ha) of sea grass can be a home for up to 19 turtles.
In 2016 the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI) and Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), along with luxury resort Six Senses Laamu joined together to demonstrate how sea grass and tourism can coexist and generate positive outcomes. As their work gained momentum, the collaboration launched the
“ProtectMaldivesSeagrass” campaign, asking resorts, as well as the public, to pledge their support for the protection and preservation of sea grass beds in Maldives.
Sea grass bed restoration is also taking place elsewhere.
As of 2019 the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre of Central Queensland University has been growing seagrass for six years and has been producing seagrass seeds. They have been running trials in germination and sowing techniques.
In a study of a species of seagrass called Posidonia oceanic, Anna Sanchez-Vidal, a marine biologist Department of Stratigraphy, Paleontology and Marine Geosciences at the University of Barcelona has discovered that plastic debris on the Mediterranean seafloor can be trapped in seagrass remains called “Neptune Balls”, eventually leaving the marine environment through beaching.
With no help from humans, the swaying plants – anchored to shallow seabeds – may collect nearly 900 million microplastic items in the Mediterranean alone every year, nearly 1,500 pieces per kilo of Neptune Balls or up to 600 bits per kilo of leaves.
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