kelp bed
Title: Establishing a socio-economic baseline to monitor the impact of the Nearshore Trawling Byelaw 2019 on Sussex inshore fishermen
Funder and duration: Blue Marine Foundation 2021-2022 
Lead partner: University of Plymouth
Location: Sussex
University of Plymouth staff: Dr Sian ReesKizzy BeaumontMr Tom Mullier 
Kelp beds are some of the most productive and biodiverse habitats in the world. They highly influence their environment by acting as ecosystem engineers and supporting high secondary productivity. They provide vital biogenic habitat for a large diversity of marine life and consequently, help sustain healthy fish populations, including many commercially important species. As with many marine habitats, kelp beds are threatened from both direct and indirect impacts at a global and local scale. These impacts can alter the ability of the kelp beds to provide productive and biodiverse habitats, which has knock on effects for food webs and ecosystem services. 
Historical records have shown that kelp beds once covered dense areas of the southeast of England’s coastline. The Nearshore Trawling Byelaw (2019) came into force on 18th March 2021 to prohibit trawling from 304km2 of seabed along the English Channel. Sussex IFCA is moving towards an ecosystem-based fisheries management approach by considering multiple objectives to restore the function of local ecosystems. 
The aims of this project are two-fold:
1. Establish a baseline of the social and economic value of fishing to the West Sussex inshore fishing community, against which to assess future change following introduction of the Sussex IFCA Nearshore Trawling Byelaw (2019). 
2. Assess fishermen’s interest in developing a collaborative approach and aspirations for improved management, research, value added schemes and other initiatives.
The data will be used as a baseline against which to assess future changes in fishing activity and value in response to anticipated recovery, of the benthic fauna and flora, resulting from the Byelaw and any future management measures put in place to support sustainable low-impact fisheries in the area.