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Help needed to map rare seaweed

09 July 2012

Divers and fishermen are being asked to help Jersey’s Marine Resources Unit by reporting sightings of rare red seaweed.

The hard, red seaweed – which looks more like a coral than seaweed – is called maerl and it provides an important habitat in the north-east Atlantic for molluscs and crustaceans. Although it is relatively rare in the English Channel, Jersey does have some beds - mainly to the east of the Island - and marine officers are hoping that local spotters will help them map its locations.

Marine and Coastal Officer Greg Morel said “Maerl can form extensive beds, covering several square kilometres, and provides shelter and food for many marine species, including the early life stages of a number of commercially important stocks. We are keen for divers and fishermen who come across it to let us know when and where they saw it. We would particularly like to know the proportion of live maerl, which is red or pink, and dead weed, which is white.”

Mr Morel said mapping the habitat would help inform future management. The department would also be keen to receive any photos that members of the public may have taken.

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