Sarah Ward, Sussex Wildlife Trust
Sara’s work encompasses marine conservation policy, marine advocacy and engagement, and the co-ordination of Sussex Shoresearch (a volunteer scheme identifying species and habitats) and Seasearch (with volunteer divers also recording).
Coasts have importance for: mental health and well-being; a source of protein for humans; a source of building materials; and a source of energy from off-shore wind farms or tidal energy.
The shoreline in Sussex has various habitats: shingle, vegetated shingle; sandy beaches and rocky shore. On the last can be found: Common Shore Crab, barnacles, snails, slugs, anemones, sponges, echinoderms, sea squirts and fish.
To provide a healthy environment with sustainable fishing a new byelaw “Sussex Nearshore Trawling Byelaw” was implemented in 2021.
Underwater Kelp, once prolific from Selsey Bill to Brighton, has diminished greatly since 1980. Kelp forests are a crucial habitat for fish and many other sea creatures, lock up carbon, pump out oxygen and so reduce climate change. A number of organisations have collaborated with The Sussex Kelp Restoration Project. For more information go to: sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/what-we-do/living-seas/kelp
Sarah’s presentation brought to our attention the diverse and rich qualities of our local shorelines and also the need for them to be protected.