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Mapping seagrass to manage conservation

Mapping seagrass in protected areas is an important component of Cornwall Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) seagrass conservation plan.

The IFCA has recently taken delivery of a Scientific Echo Sounder, supplied by Hayle-based survey support company Swathe Services, to help the IFCA increase its capability in managing seagrass conservation.

The new BioSonics MX Scientific Fisheries Echo Sounder will be used to simultaneously map submerged seagrass vegetation as well as collect bathymetry data on the seabed and classify substrate, helping the IFCA increase its capability in managing seagrass conservation.

Colin Trundle, Principal Scientific Officer at Cornwall IFCA, says:  “We are looking at mapping the extent and density of seagrass in four marine protected areas in Cornwall, to ensure our management is appropriate and effective.

“Previously, we had to rely on 2D imagery and the new equipment will give us the 3D capability to see the canopy height and density, and also estimate the sea bed substrate type as well. “

Seagrass is considered vital for climate change as well as being an essential marine habitat. It has a considerable part to play in absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

BioSonics scientific echosounders provide an in-depth understanding of the underwater environment for assessment, research and management.

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