Help Our Kelp

Kelp is the name given to a group of brown seaweeds; usually large in size, these plants 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!

Sussex kelp 1980 - present

Current Work

The first step towards restoration is to put some management in place. Whilst there are a number of factors which may be affecting the kelp, one manageable factor is fishing effort. The Sussex IFCA are currently proposing management of bottom-towed fishing gear in the near-shore area. The proposed ban aims to alleviate the pressure from this type of fishing on the habitat used by the kelp, giving it some breathing space to regenerate.

Sussex IFCA proposed trawling exclusion zone

Help Our Kelp Latest

Almost 2500 people who voiced their support for an ambitious Kelp forest restoration project off the coast of West Sussex. Thank you to everyone for their support.

The pioneering campaign to restore a vast underwater Kelp forest off the Sussex coast achieved its first major milestone, as the introduction of a critical new byelaw has been agreed.

The new byelaw, which will see trawling excluded from a vast 304 km2 of Sussex coastline year-round, was agreed by the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (Sussex IFCA) on 23 January. 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 IFCA’s decision brings the first ever marine Kelp rewilding initiative one step closer, and aims to give the kelp the breathing space it needs to recover. Over time, repeated passes by trawling vessels have torn kelp from the sea floor and prevented natural regeneration, so the alleviation of this major pressure is the critical first step towards recovery.

The new byelaw must now be passed to the Secretary of State at Defra for approval before it can be implemented, so the Help Our Kelp Partnership now wish to see it signed off quickly before another year of trawling damages the seabed in this vulnerable in-shore zone.

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Why should we help our kelp

Kelp graphic 1000

The Partnership

Help Our Kelp has been formed in partnership with the following organisations:

- Sussex Wildlife Trust
Sussex IFCA
- Big Wave Productions
- Blue Marine Foundation
Marine Conservation Society