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Sussex Kelp Recovery Project
20 Mar 2024

Celebrating three years of the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project

We are celebrating three years of seabed protection and of the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project.

This week we are celebrating three years of seabed protection and of the Sussex Kelp Recovery Project.

In March 2021, over 300km² of seabed was protected from trawling by the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority. This saw the creation of the largest marine rewilding project in the UK - Sussex Kelp Recovery Project.

Since then, we have initiated an enormous research and monitoring program to understand how marine ecosystems recover when we take away the human pressures and let nature lead in its own recovery. 

After decades of destructive practices, it will take time for the ecosystem to fully recover but after three years, we have some initial glimmers of hope for recovery in Sussex seas. Combinations of anecdotal observations from freedivers and fishers, and as well as research evidence, are now allowing us to see huge expanses of Mussel beds returning to Sussex, which we hope will provide the hard substrate for Kelp to re-establish on to, as well as gradual increases in Lobster catches and increases in Black Sea Bream in our waters.

Common Mussels.
Common Mussels © Paul Naylor

So far, the journey to recover kelp and other essential fish habitats has been an incredible coming together of over 50 organisations from across statutory, academic and conservation sectors – and which has been tirelessly championed by local people.

As we celebrate this milestone, we want to take the opportunity to give enormous thanks to the supporters of our project be they researchers, funders, citizen scientists or local communities. Your help is essential in creating seascape level change and your efforts are helping us literally put kelp back on the map.

Happy anniversary, Sussex Kelp Recovery Project!

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