At the heart of the Sussex coastline lies a remarkable endeavour to re-wild the kelp beds and restore the marine life that once thrived there. Inspired by the passion and dedication of Steve Allnutt, the founder of the Sussex Seabed Restoration Project (SSRP), we are proud to support Steve’s incredible work with a donation of £16,000.
Steve’s mission goes beyond just re-establishing the kelp beds; it extends to educating the local community and creating a network of passionate volunteers. Together, we aim to drive change and rebuild a vibrant and sustainable marine habitat. With techniques guided by the Kelp Restoration Alliance and the Kelp Restoration Guidebook, Steve has already made significant progress in harvesting and growing kelp spores for reintroduction along the Sussex coastline.
By banning bottom trawling and preserving our marine ecosystems, we can protect and restore the precious life beneath our waters. Steve’s hope is for governments and NGOs to follow Sussex’s lead and implement similar measures throughout the rest of the country.
Sussex is already a natural haven for marine life, as evidenced by the captivating video of a ray captured by diver Anna Peirce below. Together, let’s ensure that this glorious collection of marine biodiversity flourishes once again.
“I hope that Sussex is the beginning of a massive domino effect across the rest of the UK. I’ve seen for myself how quickly the kelp and other marine life can bounce back when it’s left alone by trawlers. While it’s really encouraging, it’s also devastating to think about the destruction that’s still happening to the rest of the UK’s oceans and marine life. The Government must follow Sussex’s lead and ban bottom trawling from 0 to 3 nautical miles off the rest of the coast and in all Marine Protected Areas.”
A cuttlefish hatchery!!
Steve’s kelp hubs are home to more than ‘just’ kelps! This summer, often during storms, thousands of cuttlefish eggs washed up along the Sussex coastline in part due to the lack of kelp in the area which would usually be there to protect and hold on to the eggs. Thankfully, Steve was on hand to help and was successful in saving, hatching and releasing over 700 baby cuttlefish back into the sea! Incredible, proactive work Steve, amazing!
Just before being released back into the sea – adorable!
Update November 2023
In the few months since the partnership began, Steve has been busy implementing recommendations for the kelp hub from the Scottish Association for Marine Science and working with Sussex University to share and develop the project further. The upgrades to the kelp hub (image below) will hopefully enable better kelp growth which starts this month! Steve is also developing a hub for use outdoors so more on that next time.
Steve has had an amazing opportunity to work with Marianne Glascott, a doctoral researcher at Sussex University, sharing knowledge of the Sussex waters and helping to develop a detailed understanding of the current kelp baseline in the area.
These next few winter months are crucial for the next stage of the project and will focus on growing and planting the kelp and trialing different methods of deployment.
We cannot wait to see how it all goes and look forward to another update in the New Year!