Report inconclusive on link between anchoring and seagrass

A no-anchor zone has been removed from Studland Bay after a study failed to draw any concrete link between boat anchoring and its impact on seagrass in the popular Dorset anchorage.

The report was commissioned by The Crown Estate and Natural England, as part of attempts to ascertain if anchoring damages seagrass, which is the habitat of native seahorse species.

There are no formals proposals to permanently ban anchoring in Studland Bay (pictured), but boaters fear it could be imposed if the bay becomes a Marine Conservation Zone, as many environmentalists have called for one to protect the seahorses.

And this report could influence the decision to impose an anchor ban in the bay.

Jon Reed, founder of the Boat Owners Response Group, which opposes an anchor ban, said: ‘The study found no statistically validated evidence that anchoring was damaging the eelgrass in which the seahorses shelter, although it pointed to some small differences between the no-anchor and anchored zones.

‘The conclusion seems clear: anchoring is not going to wipe out the eelgrass, which is what decades of history of anchoring at Studland have shown anyway.’

For more on this story, pick up the new August issue of Practical Boat Owner, on sale today.

Rare seahorse found in River Thames.

RYA urges boaters to observe Studland No Anchor zone.

No anchor zone in Studland Bay until 2011.