Cambalhao Bay
Sado Estuary, Portugal

38.480054, -8.916215

Working with coastal communities to transform behaviors for ocean protection.

We have partnered with Ocean Alive, Portugal’s first non profit cultural cooperative dedicated to ocean protection, to begin the conservation of 1 hectare of seagrass meadow in the Sado Estuary of Setúbal, Portugal.

Led and operated by women, this seagrass protection and community education project aims to safeguard a naturally emerging seagrass meadow in Cambalhao Bay. Unlike a conventional restoration project, the objective is to mitigate the detrimental impact of anchoring and poor navigation and protect the meadow.

*Thanks to the support of our generous brand partners, this project has been fully funded.

A fragile ecosystem

Disappearing Worldwide

The seagrass meadows in Portugal have been rapidly depleting, resulting in a scarcity of marine life and adversely impacting the fishing community, especially the fisherwomen, leading to unemployment and devaluation. This depletion has also contributed to the decline of the resident dolphin population.

The Lungs of the Ocean

Seagrass meadows are also a critical component in mitigating climate change as they are one of the most effective natural blue carbon sinks on the planet. They are extremely efficient at carbon sequestration, averaging ~830 Kg of carbon stored per hectare per year, which is about 30 times higher than that of terrestrial forests.

Keepers of the Sea

Operated by Ocean Alive, this program empowers women in the fishing community to become leaders in ocean protection. As a result of this program, women from the local fishing community are able to develop new professions such as marine education guides, awareness agents, and seagrass monitors. They take an active role in fighting climate change and promoting sustainability, while advocating for policies that prioritize environmental best practices.

Project Summary

Aim 1: Conduct research and mapping at the seagrass meadow

We will conduct comprehensive research and mapping of the seagrass meadow to gain a better understanding of its value and the best ways to protect it. This aim is critical to our overall goal of safeguarding the meadow's future.

Aim 2: Recruit seagrass guardians from maritime touristic enterprises

We will work with local maritime touristic enterprises (MTs) that use the seagrass meadow for navigation and anchoring to recruit ambassadors, or "Seagrass Guardians." Ocean Alive educates the staff of these enterprises on the value of the meadow and teach them good practices to protect it. By doing so, we aim to foster their engagement and contribution to future mapping and protection of the area from other recreational users.

Ocean Alive

Learn More about Ocean Alive

SeaTrees is collaborating with Ocean Alive to protect a naturally emerging seagrass meadow at Cambalhao Bay in Portugal's Sado Estuary by engaging local "Seagrass Guardian" ambassadors. This project will fund the official scientific mapping of the meadow and the associated costs of community engagement, education, and training. The goal is to mitigate the harmful impacts of anchoring and navigation in the area.


Sustainable Development

This project provides long-term employment for the local community. This in turn drives other Sustainable Development benefits.