A key aim of the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project is to support and monitor the natural recovery of kelp and other essential fish habitats in Sussex. But what does natural recovery mean?
For SKRP it’s about:
Removing manageable pressures (such as trawling) that prevent habitats from returning
Giving nature time to recover on its own
Observing to learn what comes back but also what doesn’t.
This is also called ‘letting nature lead’ and it is a key principle of rewilding.
The benefit of delaying interventions (sometimes called active restoration) such as planting or seeding kelp is that the SKRP can learn what other pressures might be present in the area, and from there understand if and what interventions might be needed in the future.
This is important because interventions are often resource intensive and efforts could be wasted if they don’t address underlying issues. For example, if the rocky substrate that kelp attach to has disappeared, then an intervention would need to address this.
Another advantage is that any kelp or other essential fish habitats that do come back naturally are likely to be more resilient and adapted to the new conditions in Sussex Bay which bodes well for the future.