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 two years of ecosystem recovery with the launch of the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project's two-year progress report: SKRP two year report

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 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 Sussex Kelp Recovery Project, we want to bring it back!

Sir David Attenborough quote

Sussex kelp latest

21 March 2023: We are celebrating two years of ecosystem recovery with the launch of the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project's two-year progress report, and the launch of the SKRP website: sussexkelp.org.uk

Sussex Wildlife Trust is proud to work as part of the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project. Our Director of Conservation Policy and Evidence, Henri Brocklebank, chairs the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project Steering Group.

Films to watch

Watch talks and presentations from the Sussex Kelp Restoration Project's first ever Kelp Summit, held in November 2021. This includes a 15 minute film by Big Wave Productions, celebrating the first six months of benchmarking and monitoring work following the new byelaw.

Find out why kelp is so important and how we are working to save the Sussex Kelp forests and put people at the heart of this ambitious and hope-filled ecosystem restoration project.


More about the byelaw

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 Kelp Recovery Project is a collaboration of national and local organisations taking an evidence-based approach to tackle the challenges to the restoration of Sussex kelp. At the heart of the project are the Sussex Wildlife Trust, Blue Marine Foundation, Big Wave Productions, Sussex IFCA, Adur & Worthing Council,  ZSL, University of Brighton, and UCL. 

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

    Current Work

    Two years of the Sussex Nearshore Trawling Byelaw 

    Read the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project’s Progress & Impact Report 2021-2023, with foreword by Henri Brocklebank from the Sussex Wildlife Trust, who chairs the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project Steering Group.

    SKRP two year report

    Creating the next generation of marine ambassadors and scientists

    Wild Coast Sussex has been focusing on empowering young people to champion our Sussex Seas. In November 2022, they held a hackathon to answer the question ‘How do young people want to learn about the Sussex Kelp Recovery. Find out more here.

    Sussex Diving Community Facebook group shares the wonders of Sussex Underwater

    Most of us are not divers, and will never have the opportunity to witness the amazing underwater world off our Sussex coast first hand. Following the implementation of the Sussex Nearshore Trawling Byelaw, Sussex Free-divers decided to share their passion for the recovery of our Sussex seas through both Facebook and Instagram (@sussexunderwater). Their exquisite posts and expertly edited films inspire thousands of people each week and they have become a powerful and passionate voice of the Sussex Kelp Recovery. Join the Facebook group here.


    Funding the co-ordination of the partnership's work has been made possible by an award from Postcode Planet Trust thanks to funds raised by players of People's Postcode Lottery and two community-owned solar farms - Ferry Farm and Meadow Blue Community Solar - 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, including the Pebble Trust (via Sussex Wildlife Trust), Barclays and Platform Earth (via the Blue Marine Foundation).

    The SKRP has also been supported by contributions through our website, including through individual sponsored activities, fundraising, and corporate donations. 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

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

    Sussex Kelp Films

    Campaign films and underwater footage from the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project

    Contact the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project

    Contact the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project

    Kelp Summit

    Watch talks and presentations from the 2021 Kelp Summit

    Sedimentation

    The Sussex Kelp Recovery Partnership is working to identify and minimise damaging impacts on existing and potential kelp habitat

    Kelp Recording Scheme

    Citizen science for the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project