Overlooked at Risk, Seagrass is Habitat of Choice for Many Small Scale Fishers

Seagrass meadows are the fishing grounds of choice for many households in four Indo-Pacific countries, according to a new study that calls for better-informed management of these often-overlooked marine habitats.

It found that small-scale fishers in 147 coastal villages in four tropical countries — Cambodia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka and Indonesia — rely primarily on seagrass meadows, saying these habitats are reliable, suitable, familiar, and accessible. The study, published in June in the journal Ocean & Coastal Management, noted that this finding should prompt a rethink of general perceptions of small-scale fisheries.

“Nearly half of all households we talked to preferred fishing in seagrass over other habitats such as coral, mangroves, open ocean, mud and rock for example,” lead author Benjamin Jones, a doctoral candidate in the department of ecology environment and plant sciences at Stockholm University, said in a statement.

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