Seagrass meadows provide vital habitat for juvenile fish, but are disappearing at an alarming rate in many places. NIWA scientists are finding out more about the role seagrass plays in the life of young fish.
The Bay of Islands coast is under increasing pressure from human activities, both land-based and marine. As part of the government’s Ocean Survey 20/20 programme, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) commissioned NIWA to carry out a comprehensive survey of the region’s seafloor habitats and biodiversity.
Research has revealed key differences in seafloor communities and habitats inside and outside the Separation Point trawl fishing exclusion zone in Tasman Bay. These have important implications for valuable benthic fisheries in the area.
Beds of New Zealand seagrass (Zostera muelleri) provide important habitat for coastal species such as small fish, seahorses, and shellfish. Much of New Zealand’s seagrass habitat has been lost or degraded, mainly as a result of sedimentation. NIWA is leading a small-scale seagrass transplantation trial in Whangarei Harbour, with promising early results.