Celebrating 2 years of marine habitat rewilding supported by Sir David Attenborough

3 April 2023

In 2021, the Sussex Wildlife Trust, a key partner of our UNESCO biosphere, launched the ambitious and hope-filled Sussex Kelp Recovery Project. 2 years later, kelp is back, bringing along an oasis of life with it!

What is kelp? Kelp is the name given to a group of brown seaweeds, usually large in size, they are the most productive and biodiverse habitats on the planet. Historically, kelp was abundant along the Sussex coastline. But this important habitat has diminished over time.

Why is kelp important?Kelp forests provide a home for hundreds of species creating an oasis of life off the coast, enhancing fisheries and sequestering carbon in our fight against climate change.” Sir David Attenbourough

What is this project doing? This pioneering project puts people at its heart and aims to restore almost 200 square kilometres of lost Sussex kelp forest.

Where is the restoration project? Just a few hundred metres from busy coastal areas like Worthing, Adur and Arun.

How is the progress going? The progress is showing unbelievable changes in fish and bottom structure with sightings of electric rays and trigger fish, unseen in the area for decades, demonstrating the ocean’s ability to recover when it’s protected.

Why could it be implemented? A successful campaigning from the Help Our Kelp partnership, a coalition of seven local and national organisations*, enabled The Sussex Nearshore Trawling Byelaw (March 2021) protecting the nearshore seabed off the Sussex coast from bottom-towed trawling gears.

To know more, visit: Rewilding the Sussex seabed | Sussex Kelp Recovery Project (*The Sussex Wildlife Trust, the Blue Marine Foundation, The Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority – IFCA, the Adur & Worthing Councils, the University of Brighton and the UCL0.

 

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By Sarah Ryman

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