Seagrass pilot in Addu

23 March 2023

The Seagrass pilot works that started on the 1st March 2023, World Seagrass Day as declared by the United Nations, have been completed on the 22nd of March 2023. With the help and support of local volunteers and stakeholders, a total of 640 seagrass sods of 0.25 m x 0.25 m have been relocated from the reclamation footprint of Maradhoo, to three specifically chosen locations nearby Feydhoo.

Seagrass pilot participants in Maradhoo area transporting seagrass sods onshore

Part of the sods were replanted with spacing of 1 m between adjacent sods. This way it is expected that the replanted seagrass will develop and eventually cover the in-between space. The remaining sods were replanted in clusters, where 36 sods were planted stacked together. The lateral outgrowth and survival rates of the two different planting patterns will be compared with each other.

Local stakeholders participating in the seagrass pilot (part 1)

Local stakeholders participating in the seagrass pilot (part 2)

In some the locations where the relocated seagrass would experience wave action, hessian bags filled with natural rock/rubble have been used to protect the replanted sods (see below). The hessian bags are biodegradable in seawater and will degrade over time.

The relocated seagrass sods will be monitored for a minimum period of one year in order to record the level of survival, lateral expansion, overall health, hosting marine fauna etc. If the relocated seagrass is able to expand and grow into a thriving seagrass meadow, it could enhance the attraction of several marine species, such as moray eels, turtles, rays and reef fish. It is also expected to enhance carbon storage and prevent erosion of sediments.

Replanted seagrass in wave active sites has been protected with hessian bags filled with rock

Pipefishes are commonly observed in seagrass meadows in the Maldives

A hawksbill turtle resting below the canopy of a seagrass meadow on Addu Atoll