Do you enjoy being in and near our fantastic Sussex marine environment? If so then read on!
The Living Coast has a wealth of world-class marine habitats, such as the chalk reefs all along our coast and the muds and saltmarsh of the Adur Estuary. The coastline from Brighton Marina to Beachy Head is also now a designated Marine Conservation Zone. Bathers can also enjoy a dip in the many designated 'Bathing Waters' from the many good beaches along The Living Coast.
Our Sussex seas are known to support a multitude of wildlife ranging from dolphins to seahorses!
Whilst it is great to be outdoors and making use of what we have right on our doorstep, it is just as important to look after the environment for the sake of both wildlife and future generations of people. The marine environment is under stress from human pressures: this can be from something as seemingly harmless as dropping an empty crisp packet on the beach, or an incident like an oil spillage which has far wider reaching consequences.
The Clear Seas campaign run by the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority helps all those using the sea to look after it, whether on a daily basis, or whether you are simply passing by.
To raise awareness of the local marine environment, the Clear Seas project has produced a simple guide to looking after the marine environment for boat users. It highlights the small ways in which people are able to make a big difference to the marine environment, shows how their actions might impact the marine environment, and gives information on what our local areas have to offer in terms of wildlife and protected marine and coastal environments. Brighton Marina has been pinpointed as an initial focus area due to the level of both commercial and recreational boating activity and its status as an important marine habitat.
Minimising the footprint we leave behind as a visitor or regular user of the Sussex coastline is just as important on land, with the impacts more immediately obvious to the casual observer. There are hence simple actions from the Clear Seas campaign that us "landlubbers" can also take:
- Take your litter home and reduce the amount you throw away. This extends to flushing objects down the toilet that aren’t intended to be processed at sewage treatment works, as these objects invariably make their way in to the marine environment.
- Encourage dog walkers to clear up after their pets, as their waste on beaches can end up in the sea as well as potentially ruining a nice stroll on the beach for people!
- Respect our wildlife: much of the wildlife found in Sussex is nationally and internationally protected and there are a range of designations covering Sussex which aim to keep the animals and their habitats safe.
Feeding Common Tern (Copyright RSPB)
- When rock pooling along the shore, be careful to put overturned rocks back how you found them, and try to avoid removing any of your findings from the water. This is especially important along the chalk reefs stretching from the Marina at Brighton to Beachy Head, which are part of the Beachy Head West Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ).
Wave cut chalk platform at Beachy Head West MCZ
The Clear Seas project is in partnership with The Living Coast, the Sussex Wildlife Trust and Southern Water.
Nick Rogers - Project Officer
Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority