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Blue Marine Foundation (Kelp)

SUPPORT KELP RESTORATION WITH GREENTHEUK

AIM: Restore Sussex’s kelp forests

LOCATION: Sussex

PROJECT OVERVIEW:

Kelp forests once stretched 40 kilometres along the Sussex coastline, creating one of the most productive and biodiverse environments on the planet. Kelp forests provide shelter, feeding and nursery grounds for many marine species including cuttlefish, lobster, seabream and bass. Kelp also has the potential to store carbon, aiding in the fight against climate change, while improving water quality and reducing coastal erosion by absorbing the power of ocean waves.

Since 1987 however, over 96 per cent of Sussex’s kelp had been destroyed due to years of destructive trawling and other human pressures.

To reverse this decline, the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority proposed a byelaw prohibiting trawling of over 300 square kilometres of seabed in 2019 with the aim for recovery of the lost kelp forest and protection of essential fish habitats and fish populations. Blue Marine worked with the Sussex Wildlife Trust, Marine Conservation Society and Big Wave Media as part of the Help our Kelp campaign to support the byelaw gaining overwhelming public support from almost 2,500 people.

In March 2021 the Nearshore Trawling Byelaw 2019 was approved creating one of the largest inshore areas closed to trawling in England and the first kelp restoration project in the UK. Sir David Attenborough lent his support in the early stages providing a voice over for the campaign film and welcomed the byelaw as a “landmark decision for the management of the UK’s coastal waters”.

Blue Marine is working with partners across Sussex to deliver the Sussex Kelp Restoration Project and supports an extensive research programme to monitor the impacts and benefits of the byelaw for wildlife and inshore fisheries. The research includes Baited Remote Underwater Video surveys to monitor mobile benthic species, studies of crab and lobster populations and socio-economic surveys with fishermen.

ABOUT BLUE MARINE:

Blue Marine Foundation aims to restore the ocean to health by addressing overfishing, one of the world’s biggest environmental problems. BLUE is dedicated to creating marine reserves, restoring vital habitats and establishing models of sustainable fishing. BLUE’s mission is to see 30 per cent of the world’s ocean under effective protection by 2030.

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