#NOKELPDREDGE

How and why the Sea Savers helped to save the kelp.

Hey! Dredgers! Leave our kelp alone!

We are very lucky to have kelp forests around our coasts. Kelp forests are known to be one of the most dynamic and biodiverse habitats on the planet, and as well as providing a habitat for myriad species, some of great commercial importance, they also provide unique ‘ecosystem services’ such as protecting our coastlines from storm surges and erosion, buffering rising ocean acidity, creating an environment where people of all ages can snorkel and wonder at one of the few unspoiled habitats on the planet, and perhaps most importantly given what we know about climate change, they absorb more atmospheric carbon than terrestrial forests.

For more on the science behind all this, check out this report:
Threats and knowledge gaps for ecosystem services provided by kelp forests: A northeast Atlantic perspective

Kelp is the bottom of the food chain and underpins the health of our coastal waters, so when USS heard of plans by an alginate company to be the first to dredge kelp up by the holdfast over a huge area of Scotland’s West Coast, they were horrified.

Kelp dredging has never been licensed in Scotland before, and the rules that the Crown Estate and Scottish Natural Heritage impose on the people that hand harvest are, rightly, very strict, with every species of seaweed being cut in such a way that it can regenerate, no changes being made to the habitat, and all bi-catch being recorded.  It would have made no sense to impose these rules on individuals working on a sustainable level and keeping the money they made in small coastal communities, whilst at the same time allowing a large company to come in and haul the habitat out in strips with only a negative impact on the habitat that we rely on.  You don’t have to be a Sea Saver to understand what it means to rip out the bottom of the coastal marine food web!
A major protest was launched
Kelp dredging has never been licensed in Scotland before, and the rules that the Crown Estate and Scottish Natural Heritage impose on the people that hand harvest are, rightly, very strict, with every species of seaweed being cut in such a way that it can regenerate, no changes being made to the habitat, and all bi-catch being recorded.  It would have made no sense to impose these rules on individuals working on a sustainable level and keeping the money they made in small coastal communities, whilst at the same time allowing a large company to come in and haul the habitat out in strips with only a negative impact on the habitat that we rely on.  You don’t have to be a Sea Saver to understand what it means to rip out the bottom of the coastal marine food web!

Sept 2018

A Letter from the Ullapool Sea Savers

To the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee.

Sept 2018

October 2018

Snorkelled with kelp

To higlight the campaign - something that featured alongside calls by David Attenborough to stop kelp dredging.

Sept-Nov

Awareness With Celebrities

Over the whole campagin the Ullapool Sea Savers approached celebrities to help raise awareness.

Sept-Nov

November 2018

Travelled to the Scottish Parliament

Where they campaigned outside, meeting other camaign groups and politicians who were voting on the issue, and were invited in to sit in the chamber as the Bill was debated and eventually voted through to not allow mechanical kelp extraction - and were given an applause from the MSPs for their efforts to campaign.

It's Not Over

We Did It!!

USS were delighted with the result, and came away with the knowledge that their efforts really can, and do, make a difference.

It's Not Over

However: the kelp campaign is not over.
Marine Scotland will launch a seaweed ‘Harvest Review’ this year which may give dredge companies another opportunity to try and push their case. Often money and jobs are used as ‘bait’ to let unpopular activities go ahead, but some things are worth more than money. The kelp habitat is shrinking as a result of global warming and we should be bending over backwards to protect it, never even considering hauling it up for a quick profit.

It is really, really important that those that feed into the review are not influenced in any way by the companies that wish to dredge. Sadly at the moment that includes the Scottish Seaweed Industry Association as 2 of their 3 directors have direct links the company that wanted the kelp dredge license.
logo-l.png

Ullapool Sea Savers,
Quercus, Riverside Terrace,
Ullapool, IV26 2TE

Follow Us

Search