Saving Seagrass - Burgess Conservation 2024

Published 12 March 2024

Burgess has launched a conservation project to protect Mediterranean seagrass, in collaboration with Blue Marine Foundation. Georgina Menheneott, Head of ESG and Burgess Partner, tells us why seagrass is the unsung hero in ocean health...

'In the past two years Burgess has partnered with Blue Marine Foundation, and raised GBP 130,000 to help fund their marine conservation programmes. This year we take it to the next level,’ says Georgina. 

‘We asked Blue Marine what work was needed in the Mediterranean, the global hub of yachting, and the Burgess Conservation project Saving Seagrass was born.’

Why seagrass?

‘Seagrass doesn't look like much - it's not the headline-grabbing cover star of the ocean, but it really punches above its weight,’ explains Georgina.

‘It is an unsung hero - it can capture and store carbon 35 times faster than the rainforests, it protects and nurtures hundreds of fish, animals and other plant species, and its vital to reducing erosion and protecting our coastlines.’

The Greek Islands are a very popular yachting destination

Where are we Saving Seagrass?

When Blue Marine identified the seagrass project in the Mediterranean, Georgina saw the relevance to the superyacht industry, ‘Saving Seagrass will be focused on the Greek Islands, which are a very popular yachting destination. 

'We are starting in Corfu and the beautiful Cycladic island of Amorgos, where 10 years ago local fishers begin to notice that they were landing fewer and fewer fish, and could see the sea life around their island vanishing from underneath them.'

The seagrass meadows fringe the shoreline around the islands

Why does seagrass need saving?

It is a stark fact that, worldwide, we are losing two football pitches worth of seagrass every hour. Without protection, seagrass will not survive.

Mediterranean seagrass only grows at 1-6cm per year, so it is vital to first protect what there is. To do that we map the seagrass meadows, so that Blue Marine can work on the appropriate conservation.

'The big picture here is that we work towards healthy seas teeming with natural life, support local communities earning their livelihoods from marine activities, and safeguard the beautiful cruising grounds so close to our hearts.'

How do maps help?

‘The Amorgos team on the ground desperately need accurate scientific data on the seagrass meadows to support their campaign. Blue Marine is working with tech-firm PlanBlue, who have underwater drone technology that can map the ocean floor and use AI to produce astonishingly detailed maps of the seabed. 

‘Then local divers will confirm the tech mapping. This information will give the conservation team the information they need to create effective protection around the island.

'In the long term, the huge joint effort in Amorgos could become a model for conservation across the Mediterranean, and Burgess is excited to be a part of it.'

The fishermen and women in the islands want to bring in sustainable fishing
Local fishers in the Greek Islands are working to bring in sustainable practices

Burgess x Blue Marine

Blue Marine is a not-for-profit conservation charity making marine conservation happen fast and effectively. Georgina is passionate that together with Blue Marine, Burgess Conservation is going to make a measurable difference.

‘I am confident in Blue Marine's ability and our partnership. As Saving Seagrass will show, Blue Marine is doing the hard work behind the scenes to protect our oceans and give nature a fighting chance. Their fantastic track record speaks for itself. 

‘Give nature a breather and it will rebound. I hope we can do just this with Saving Seagrass in the Greek Islands – and beyond.’

The foundation of this initiative is Burgess’ the intention to use the business as a platform for good. In this instance, in the field of ocean conservation. In Saving Seagrass, Burgess is committing to a cause that can make a real difference, right now. 

Georgina is passionate about her work to improve ocean health

How much can we save?

Saving Seagrass plays into the worldwide 30 by 30 goal, led by Blue Marine and other conservation groups and now adopted by the UN, to see 30 percent of the world’s oceans under effective protection by 2030. 

As Georgina says, 'I wonder how much of the Med we might be able to map and protect before then? It is all down to us as people - the captains and crews we work with and the clients we work for. We can make this happen.'

We would love you to join us, so please get in touch.

The success of marine conservation comes down to us all 

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