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Sussex Kelp

Historically, a vast kelp forest teeming with life stretched along the Sussex coast, providing a highly productive and biodiverse habitat for marine life.

Kelp forests once stretched 40 kilometres along the Sussex coastline, creating one of the most productive and biodiverse environments on the planet. Kelp forests play a vital role in shelter, feeding and nursery grounds for many marine species and are widely recognised for their impact in mitigating climate change.

However, since 1987, over 96 per cent of Sussex’s kelp has been destroyed due to years of destructive trawling and other human pressures.

In order to reverse this decline, BLUE is collaborating with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), Big Wave Media and Sussex Wildlife Trust to launch the Help Our Kelp campaign. This campaign, promoted by Sir David Attenborough, is supporting a byelaw prohibiting trawling of over 300 square kilometres of seabed. Approval of this byelaw would result in the first kelp restoration project in the UK and one of the largest inshore areas to be closed to destructive fishing trawlers in England.

Kelp forests are also important in reducing the impacts of climate change. Globally, kelp is estimated to absorb 600 million tonnes of carbon a year, twice as much as UK emits annually. Restoration of Sussex kelp would therefore play a key blue carbon role in mitigating climate change.

 

Image credits: Andy Jackson and Big Wave TV

Sussex Kelp

Key stats

96 per cent of Sussex Kelp has disappeared since 1987

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