The situation

Neptune grass (Posidonia oceanica) exists only in the Mediterranean Sea and is an ancient ecosystem. One of the largest organisms on earth, single clones have been found that are over 100,000 years old. It has been strictly protected internationally for many years, highlighting its importance in the marine ecosystem. It’s crucial functions include:

  • Water oxygenation through photosynthesis.
  • Absorbing carbon dioxide from water, thus reducing global warming and ocean acidification.
  • Stabilising the seabed and preventing coastal erosion.
  • Providing a habitat for many species.

Posidonia meadows have regressed by 34% in the past fifty years due to coastal development, trawling, intensive mooring and climate change. Although there has been some success in allowing it to re-grow, the rate of decline is significantly higher.

What we do

In partnership with Octopus Foundation, we are monitoring the abundance of Posidonia oceanica by measuring changes in area cover using aerial imagery and mapping. This is supplemented by in-situ observation by our divers. Public awareness is central to our efforts and we are working to provide information to boaters on safe anchoring practices that do not cause damage.

In the future, we would like to install permanent moorings in sensitive areas. This is already happening in other parts of the Mediterranean.

What you can do

Share information on the current situation and the importance of protecting Posidonia meadows.

If you are a boater :

       1. Face the wind before you start to anchor.

       2. When weighing anchor, follow the ascent of the chain by slowly advancing towards the anchor so that you are directly above it when it lifts off the bottom.

       3. Avoid dragging your anchor at any time.

       4. Do not move your boat while the anchor is still at the bottom.