Help Our Kelp

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 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!

Sir David Attenborough quote

Help Our Kelp Latest

Sussex IFCA’s near-shore trawling byelaw has now been signed off, meaning that it is now law, and trawling with bottom-towed fishing gear is illegal within the specified area around the coast of West Sussex.

This is a landmark decision for the health of the Sussex coast and the Help Our Kelp Partnership are incredibly excited that the byelaw is finally in place!

The alleviation of this major pressure through the byelaw is the first vital step towards the kelp’s recovery. It also means that the work of the Help Our Kelp Partnership can move onto the next phase.

Whilst we intend to leave the environment ‘alone’ for the time being to allow the kelp the opportunity to regenerate naturally, we will still be busy with monitoring, researching and planning for the future, and managing this wide-reaching project and the various associated subsidiaries.

Sussex IFCA proposed trawling exclusion zone

What you can do to support the Sussex kelp forests

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"I am delighted that the new bylaws initiated by the Sussex IFCA have now been endorsed by the Environment Secretary and can come into force straight away. This opens up the possibility of exciting plans to bring back the historic kelp beds which used to be commonplace off the coast of Sussex and can play an important role in providing habitats for marine life, bolstering sea defences and crucially in the battle against climate change a substantial contribution to carbon capture. I look forward to working with those who have innovative proposals to make it happen."  Tim Loughton MP, Member of Parliament for East Worthing & Shoreham

Current Work

1. Championing the byelaw

With the Nearshore Trawling Byelaw now in place, Sussex kelp has the space to begin to regenerate. This piece of fisheries management is the first step towards restoration of the kelp forest. Whilst there are a number of factors that may be affecting the kelp, one manageable factor is fishing effort. 

The Help Our Kelp Partnership will continue to champion the byelaw, because without it, trawling would be able to take place in the area once again.

2. Bringing together key players

The Help Our Kelp partnership has been bringing together key organisations which will help get the restoration project off the ground and support it longer term. This includes a number of research institutes, bringing expertise in kelp ecology, oceanography and social sciences, and strategic stakeholders who will provide vital assistance in the more practical elements of the work.

3. Preparing workstreams

Now that the byelaw is in place, there is work to do. We have ensured that everything is lined up; this includes consolidation of historical and current data, identifying key areas of research and data collection, lining up a programme of public and stakeholder engagement, and developing project management to bring all these streams of work together.

The Partnership

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

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

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