The Isle of Wight Distillery Steps Up Its Environmental Efforts
Mermaid Gin, from The Isle of Wight Distillery, has committed to support the restoration and protection of the Solent strait’s internationally important seagrass meadows.
Part of the ‘#WilderSolent’ initiative run by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the activity will see the Distillery positioned as a marine champion of the Solent – a busy stretch of water that runs between the Isle of Wight and the English mainland – and an ambassador for seagrass.
Seagrass gets its name from green, grass-like leaves which form extensive meadows underwater. It’s one of only three marine flowering plants in the world. As well as providing a unique ecosystem for marine wildlife, seagrass captures carbon at a rate 35 times faster than tropical rainforests – giving rise to its nickname as ‘the lungs of the ocean’. In addition, thanks to the phenomenon of ‘Neptune balls’ (see link in notes), seagrass meadows directly sieve millions of pieces of plastic from the ocean. As such, it’s an important natural solution both to the climate change and maritime plastic crises.
Unfortunately, it’s estimated that the UK has lost over 92% of its seagrass meadows in the last 100 years – which is why the distillery’s support is much needed.
Xavier Baker, Co-Founder of the Isle of Wight Distillery said:
“Through our Net Zero initiative, we’re already supporting seagrass meadows abroad, but wanted to also have impact locally. The Solent’s very dear to us all at the distillery, so we’re delighted to be part of the #WilderSolent initiative. Having gone plastic-free two years ago and then achieving Net Zero, it’s just another step in our journey to being an environmentally-responsible business.”
In addition to financial support, the distillery team will take part in the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust ‘Marine Ambassador’ training scheme, where staff will have the opportunity to become Solent ‘Marine Champions’. This will involve actively supporting activities such as intertidal and seagrass surveys and beach clean-ups.
Dr Tim Ferrero, Senior Marine Biologist at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust commented:
“Enabling seagrass to restore to its historical levels needs a multi-faceted approach. Our Solent Seagrass Restoration Project is one part of the puzzle but equally as important is increasing awareness and support for this incredible marine species. This partnership will help inspire others and create a movement of businesses and individuals acting for seagrass, as well as other marine wildlife living in these waters. Together we will create a Wilder Solent”.