A&W council will commit to replanting the kelp beds of our coast and to create Sussex Bay, a Blue National Park.
The benefits of the kelp beds are numerous, in carbon drawdown, sea defence, cleaning the water, helping the restoration of fish and shellfish stocks and increased employment for our coastal communities.
However, 90% of the our beds were ripped up the great storm of 1987 and then made worse by inshore trawling. This is now banned from Selsey to Shoreham within 5k of the shoreline and A&W will be working with a partner to actively replant the kelp.
Replanting will probably commence in the Shoreham estuarine habitat shortly and the benefit to the local economy is estimated to be up to £3.5m a year.
How things have changed it was only a year ago our councillors were looked at as being somehow eccentric when they mentioned it, passing on the contact details of a Dutch seaweed company What we need now is someone entrepreneurial to apply for a seaweed harvesting licence – it’s worth billions a year. It is used in toothpaste, ice-cream and paint and the Chinese are the biggest producers. It can be fed to live stock as well, which produces less methane.
The trawling ban was something initiated by local anglers carrying out surveys into juvenile fish species which inhabit the intertidal zones along the Sussex Coast. For three or four years in a row they’d use push nets and count the fish and other species they found. This data was given to the local IFCA, who used it with their own data to frame the subsequent by law. It’s taken 7 years. Sussex Wildlife Trust did a lot of work on the topic, producing a video and our own video about fishermen’s lockers also mentioned kelp.
As usual, the Conservatives catch up eventually when they realise an idea is both practical and popular