Sussex Kelp Recovery Project

A pioneering marine rewilding project has launched to restore almost 200 square kilometres of lost kelp forest along the coast of Sussex. 

This follows the implementation of the Sussex Nearshore Trawling Byelaw in March 2021, and we are now celebrating three years of ecosystem recovery with the launch of the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project's three-year progress report.

Kelp is the name given to a group of brown seaweeds, large in size, that form dense aggregations known as 'kelp forests'.

Historically, kelp was abundant along the Sussex coastline and provided an essential habitat that supported both marine life and local fisheries. But 96% of this important habitat has diminished over time, leaving just a few small patches and individual plants. Through the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project, we want to bring it back for the benefit of nature, fisheries, coastal communities and our planet.

Discover more about the UK’s largest marine rewilding project

Visit the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project website

Sir David Attenborough quote

More about the seabed protection

The Sussex Nearshore Trawling Byelaw (March 2021) means the nearshore seabed off the Sussex coast is now protected from bottom-towed trawling gears after successful campaigning from the Help Our Kelp partnership, supported by Sir David Attenborough.  The map below shows the extent of trawling exclusion within Sussex nearshore waters. The implementation of this byelaw follows the formal local consultation process led by the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (Sussex IFCA).

Sussex IFCA trawling exclusion zone
The Sussex Nearshore Trawling Byelaw protects 304km2 of seabed from this fishing practice. © SKRP

The Sussex Kelp Recovery Project is a collaboration of national and local organisations taking an evidence-based approach to tackle the challenges of recovering kelp beds in Sussex. At the heart of the project are the Sussex Wildlife Trust, Sussex IFCA, Blue Marine Foundation, Zoological Society of London, Queen Mary University of London, University of Brighton, Adur & Worthing Councils, University College London

Sussex Kelp Recovery Project partners

About us

Our vision is to see the recovery of kelp and other essential fish habitats at scale in Sussex, supporting a thriving and sustainable marine ecosystem that benefits nature, fisheries, coastal communities and our planet.   

Our aims:

  • To support and monitor the natural recovery of kelp and other essential fish habitats in Sussex, and the impact of the Sussex IFCA Nearshore Trawling Byelaw  
  • To understand the ecological, social and economic value of kelp and other essential fish habitats in Sussex 
  • To identify and minimise damaging impacts on existing and potential kelp habitat and other essential fish habitats
  • To assess the need for and the feasibility of active kelp restoration  
  • To increase support for, understanding of and community engagement in Sussex kelp and other essential fish habitats, so that their importance to the environment and society are known, and to enable marine ecosystem recovery elsewhere  

    What you can do to support the Sussex kelp forests

    Support Help Our Kelp

    Funding for the co-ordination of the partnership’s work has been made possible by the Postcode Planet Trust thanks to funds raised by players of People's Postcode Lottery and two community-owned solar farms – Ferry Farm Community Solar and Meadow Blue Community Energy who are donating a percentage of their profits to support our work on kelp recovery.

    The Sussex Kelp Recovery Project research programme has received generous support from numerous funders. Of particular note is funding from The Pebble Trust via Sussex Wildlife Trust.

    We have also been supported by contributions through our website, including through individual sponsored activities, fundraising, and corporate donations such as the generous support of local business Brighton Silver. Artists have generously donated their kelp related designs so that these products can help raise awareness of the project and contribute to the recovery.

    Everyone working on the SKRP extends a huge thank you to all of these individuals and organisations for making this work possible. ​

    Postcode Planet Trust is a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

    PPL Planet logo

    In this section

    Support Sussex Kelp Recovery Project

    What you can do to support the recovery of Sussex kelp forests

    Kelp Recording Scheme

    Citizen science for the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project