NIWA says that the declining levels of seagrass in our waters is having a detrimental effect on the populations of a number of NZ fish species – Whangarei and Tauranga Harbours have both seen very significant losses of the vegetation over the years.
Seagrass enables young fish to hide from predators: as the grass declines, fewer young fish are surviving to adulthood.
An excerpt: (read in full here)
“Whangarei Harbour had 14 square kilometres of it in 1960 and now it’s almost all gone.
“Tauranga Harbour lost 90% of its seagrass between 1959 and 1996.
“Morrison said the decline and loss is a world wide problem.
“”We’re not alone in it and in fact some areas are much worse off,” he said.
“The cause of the long term decline is thought to be sediment from land developments running into the ocean.”
A related story, by the Taranaki Daily News, can be found here.