Biodiversity and the Seaford Coast

Most of the news on biodiversity is pretty depressing and the seas are no exception. However, here in Sussex we have two particular things to celebrate.

One of these is the Sussex Kelp Forest project, a Sussex WildlifeTrust initiative in partnership with other organisations. The other is the reduction in plastics due to the success of beach cleans by groups such as Plastic Free Seaford. These were celebrated locally on Worlds Ocean day by the Seaford sub group of Lewes Extinction Rebellion.

Kelp

Kelp provides a range of benefits including: the support of biodiversity, the capture of carbon dioxide and the production of oxygen, the support of commercial and non-commercial marine species and a harvestable resource.

Historically, kelp was abundant along the West Sussex coastline. But this important habitat has diminished over time, leaving just a few small patches and individual plants, mostly in shallow water and along the shoreline. The Help Our Kelp partnership (Sussex IFCA, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Blue Marine Foundation, Portsmouth University, Big Wave Productions, Marine Conservation Society) want to bring it back through a marine kelp rewilding initiative by Sussex IFCA.

Follow this link to see a short film, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, talking about the value of Sussex kelp forests called Help Our Kelp.

Shoresearch

Shoresearch is a Wildlife Trust initiative to survey intertidal habitats and species. It is run using volunteers and the data is used to monitor changes and inform decision makers.

Plastic Free Seaford.

Plastics

Keeping the seas free of plastic is vital work and Plastic Free Seaford runs monthly beach cleans from the Buckle and Martello Towers alternately.

The good news is that it is having an effect locally. However, plastics are still choking our oceans. Eight million tonnes of plastics are ending up in our oceans, killing marine life. Minute pieces of plastic (micro plastics) are now entering the food chains. Tiny pieces of synthetic material from our washing machines, micro plastics from car tyres and by products from cleaning and cosmetic products find their way into the waterways.

World Oceans Day.

There are so many reasons why we need to keep our oceans healthy. As well as being home to amazing wildlife, our oceans provide food for billions of people and income for millions.

The sea also produces around half of all the oxygen we breathe (thanks to phytoplankton, tiny single-celled ocean plants), not to mention absorbing half of all man-made climate-warming carbon dioxide.

But things are not going swimmingly at sea. Latest figures show a dramatic decline in ocean health. The total amount of vertebrate sea life (including fish) has reduced by more than a third since 1970.

We already know the causes – our seas are overused and under-protected. Although we have solutions, the challenge is getting everyone on board and agreeing a way forward to address the key challenges affecting our oceans.

Find out more from WWF:

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