Seabed Enhancement

The Scottish seabed is a diverse and dynamic environment. It plays a fundamental role in sustaining marine life and is essential for many key ecosystem processes.

To tackle some of the challenges our valuable seabed faces, SMEEF has created the ‘Seabed Enhancement’ theme. The grants allocated under this theme will be distributed to coastal enhancement projects in shallower waters such as seagrass enhancement or native oyster restoration. In 2024/25 we will focus our efforts on the allocation of grants funded by a donation from SSEN Distribution. This donation is the largest single private donation for seagrass planting in Scotland.

Seagrass is a wonder plant, the only true flowering plant in the sea. The meadows it creates are home to a bewildering array of wildlife and are often likened to rainforests because of the of species they provide food and shelter for. Scottish seas are a special place for marine habitats like seagrass, with our coast stretching 18,000 km there is a lot of potentially suitable habitat where seagrass once grew in great quantities.

Apart from supporting biodiversity, seagrasses have another great advantage: their leaves and roots take in carbon dioxide and lock it away, making them great natural solutions to help tackle the climate crisis as well as reducing biodiversity loss. They can also improve water quality, reduce contamination in seafood, and act as the first line of defense along coasts by reducing wave energy, protecting people from the increasing risk of flooding and storms.

Unfortunately, seagrass has been in decline globally since the 1930s, with estimates that 7% of seagrass meadows are being lost each year, recent estimates show a general decline of at least 44%, particularly in estuaries (Kent et al, 2021). Scotland holds 20% of the seagrass beds in north-west Europe but is has been difficult to determine the extent of seagrass loss as mapping of existing and historic beds is lacking.

Our Seabed theme is currently closed, however we hope to open soon (published 06/05/2024). For updates, please register for our newsletter by emailing Please note that the SSEN funds can only be used in their licence area.

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