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Eelgrass and Fish

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Eelgrass and Fish

Picture by: Florian Graner, Sealife Productions Picture taken on: June 2nd, 2010

Tags: eelgrass habitat restoration

Eelgrass beds grow in shallow bays and coves, tidal creeks, and estuaries. They serve as a haven for crabs, scallops, numerous species of fish, and other wildlife, providing these creatures with habitat, nursery grounds, and food. The long blades of grass often are covered with tiny marine plants and animals. Unfortunately, over the past 70 years, approximately 90 percent of all eelgrass throughout its range along the Atlantic coast has been destroyed. Some scientists believe this destruction has been caused by human activities such as dredging and boat propeller scouring, and that the seabeds have been denied sunlight by increasing masses of algae (stimulated by nutrient pollution) as well as by increased levels of suspended sediments from land runoff. There is a general consensus among scientists that the loss of eelgrass meadows has resulted in the decline in fisheries populations although declines in species abundance can not be quantified (cod, shellfish, scallops).