Sussex Wildlife Trust talk to us about the latest updates of their HelpOurKelp campaign, why kelp is important and what you can do to get involved.
Kelp is the name given to a group of brown seaweeds, usually large in size, that are capable of forming dense aggregations known as ‘kelp forests’.
Historically, kelp was abundant along the West Sussex coastline. But this important habitat has diminished over time, leaving just a few small patches and individual plants, mostly in shallow water and along the shoreline. Through the Help Our Kelp partnership, we want to bring it back!
Why we should Help Our Kelp!
How far have we come?
The first step towards restoration is to put fisheries management in place. Whilst there are a number of factors that may be affecting the kelp, one manageable factor is fishing effort.
The Sussex IFCA, who manage fishing within six nautical miles from the Sussex shore, agreed a new byelaw on 23 January 2020 which will see trawling excluded from a vast 304 km2 of Sussex coastline year-round. The decision was made following an extensive consultation period, which saw overwhelming support demonstrated by almost 2,500 people in response to the Help Our Kelp campaign.
Sussex Wildlife Trust is delighted to be working alongside Big Wave Productions, BLUE Marine Foundation, Marine Conservation Society and University of Portsmouth as the Help Our Kelp Partnership. Together we have contacted Secretary of State George Eustice directly, urging him to sign the byelaw swiftly, and encouraged all Sussex MPs to do the same. We have done this understanding the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis and the important roles that DEFRA and our local MPs are playing.
As lockdown restrictions start to ease, we wish to put this critical byelaw back on the political agenda. We see it as a win-win scenario for Sussex, both for its people and its wildlife. Getting the byelaw signed is a positive and unprecedented action for a more sustainable Sussex.
Click hereto learn more and to watch the stunning campaign film created by Big Wave Productions, narrated by David Attenborough himself.
Written by Nikki Hills and Ella Garrud, Sussex Wildlife Trust