Trawl fishing banned off part of southern coast to help reclaim kelp forests | Meridian
Video report by Tom Savvides of ITV News Meridian
Underwater images courtesy of Big Wave Productions
Trawl fishing has been banned in more than 100 square miles of seabed off Sussex to help once vast kelp forests recover.
It follows a campaign to restore a large underwater kelp forest from Brighton to Selsey.
New regulations have been approved to ban year-round trawling over large areas along the entire Sussex coast closest to shore, to help habitats regenerate and improve fisheries, the said Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA).
Kelp is what is known as an ecosystem engineer. It actually helps to drive a whole series of ecological processes. First of all, it absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and that is absolutely crucial for all of us as we know it. But it also creates a habitat within the sea, in the marine environment, so that fish, molluscs, all forms of life can thrive.
Wildlife groups hope the move, which they say will protect 304 square kilometers of coastal seabed, will help “rebuild” the sea by allowing underwater kelp forests to regenerate.
It follows a campaign to protect kelp that was backed by Sir David Attenborough, who described the approval of the new regulation as a “landmark decision” for the management of UK coastal waters.
Sir David said: “Sussex’s remarkable kelp forests will now have a chance to regenerate and are home to hundreds of species, creating an oasis of life off the coast, improving fishing and sequestering carbon in our struggle. against climate change. “
While a number of factors can prevent kelp from regrowing, campaigners say the implementation of the near shore trawling regulation relieves this pressure on the area where the kelp grows, giving it a chance to recover.
Henri Brocklebank of the Sussex Wildlife Trust, said: “It shows us the passion that exists for restoring our marine ecosystems and the recognition of the value they give us all, from food to protecting our coastline.