Seeds for snapper – Cockburn Sea grass conservation
by Hayls Wight
You might have seen some events pop up recently seeking volunteers for the OzFish Seeds for snapper program. What’s it all about?
Seeds for Snapper: Sea Grass as an important link
“Apart from green turtles, dugong and garfish, very few animals directly eat seagrass. Instead, seagrass inhabitants are reliant on epibiota or detritus, or feed on other inhabitants living in the meadows… Seagrass meadows are important nursery areas for countless marine organisms, which include blue swimmer crabs, prawns, western rock lobster, whiting, tailor, herring and squid.
Source Fish.gov.au do something?
Dr John Statton from UWA’s Oceans Institute explained that Sea grass grows very slowly. They send out runners like grass. Indeed, it increases in size only centimetres per year. Around November, the Sea grass beds also produce fruit which is released and floats at the surface containing seeds.
Research has shown that as the fruit drops away, they float. Their tiny sail like structures on the seeds make them spread by winds more than current.
As much as 97% of these seeds end up in areas where they can not grow, where the water is too deep, not allowing enough light through or washed up on the shore.
The seeds are released already germinated with roots and growing which means they can’t be frozen and stored like other seeds.
This program is important because it maximises the regeneration from the local sea grass meadows during the critical time of year where the seeds are viable to establish new colonies that support our local marine life.
How do I get involved?
As a certified Diver, you can contribute by coming along to a seed collection day to capture seeds which will then be stored and agitated in salt-water tanks until they are ready for planting in areas experiencing habitat loss.
Join the Seeds for Snapper Divers Facebook page or contact [email protected] for more information. Dive Tub in Bibra Lake are on board as a sponsor offering free tank fills for participating volunteer divers.
OzFish Program Manager, Andrew Matthews, has also some other exciting projects in the works focusing on rebuilding the local mussel population.
The collection on 21 September at woodman point was educational and therapeutic. We spent the morning in beautiful conditions collecting thousands of seeds per person. I’m really looking forward to checking out the seeding sites in the coming months and years to see the impact our time has had.