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Sussex Kelp Recovery Project
14 Sep 2023

Our Sea Forest

Eric Smith tells his first-hand story of the loss of the Sussex kelp beds, and how a trawling ban has meant the forests are starting to recover.

Our Sea Forest tells the moving story of how a once thriving underwater forest, home to a multitude of different sea creatures, was lost and its slow road to recovery.

Told through the eyes of Eric Smith, a 74-year-old free diver, who’s been diving in Sussex since he was 11 years old, we see how a once thriving ecosystem was destroyed by trawling. But, in 2021, a landmark ruling protected over 300 sq. kilometres of seabed.

Filmed over three years and broadcast on BBC1, Our Sea Forest includes remarkable scenes as Eric dives with giant 40-pound Stingrays, witnesses the Mussel beds return, and rare Seabream breeding on the seabed again.

Kelp beds are a vital marine ecosystem. Across the world they are in serious decline making this a story of both local and international importance.

Thank you to Eric and Catrine and the team at Sussex Underwater for their dedication and passion championing the recovery of the Sussex kelp forest and the wildlife they support.

The sharing of Eric’s story wouldn’t have been possible without Sarah Cunliffe from Big Wave TV, who put her heart and soul into making this amazing film possible.

Watch Our Lives: Our Sea Forest on iPlayer
Watch now

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