ALMOST £200,000 has been awarded to support the conservation of Studland Bay’s precious marine ecosystem. 

Dorset Council has been given £186,000 from the Marine Management Organisation’s fisheries and seafood scheme. 

The new funding will contribute towards 57 eco-moorings installed in the bay and the continuation of the research and monitoring of the bay being delivered by the Studland Bay Marine Partnership. 

Formed in 2021, the partnership has helped make Studland Bay a protected area for nature while meeting the needs of water and boat users in Studland and Poole Harbour.

Bournemouth Echo:

Studland bay is home to Dorset’s most extensive seagrass meadow and provides a unique habitat for lots of important species like the spiny seahorse and the endangered undulate ray. 

David Brown, chair of the Studland Bay Marine Partnership, hailed the funding as “fantastic news” for residents, visitors, and the environment. 

He added: “Hundreds of waterborne visitors to Studland Bay are already taking a pro-active approach to conservation by using the 31 eco-moorings already installed and we are delighted that we will now be able to install a further 57 in 2024.” 

Michelle Willis, deputy chief executive at the MMO, added: “In Studland Bay, the seagrass plays a vital role in the marine ecosystem, providing a safe nursery and breeding ground for range of marine wildlife, including rare species of spiny seahorse, pipefish and rays, as well as those of significant commercial value such as seabream, bass and flat fish.   

“By supporting projects which will help to protect and recover Studland’s seagrass beds for the future we’re delivering on our commitment to protect our precious marine environment, support economic growth and enable sustainable marine development.” 

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said: “The bay is not only important to our county’s wildlife, but also highly valued by our local communities, businesses, and water users. 

“And this funding will further help Studland Bay Marine Partnership in their efforts to manage the area in a way that is collaborative and sustainable.” 

The money will now be put towards the £248,000 conservation project for the bay.