Neptune’s Larder

In June 2019, we created a weekend ‘pop-up’ seaweed spa extravaganza on Worthing beach. In August 2021, we celebrated ‘Bees and Seas’ with a 3-day event, including seaweed workshops with foraging chef, Stacey Manser-Knight. The local community joined us in making skin gels, body scrubs, and plant food products with a variety of local seaweeds.

Worthing’s historical relationship with seaweed is contentious—the town used to have an abundance of it washed up on our beaches, and farmers utilised this to fertilise their fields.

Seaweed is the most highly mineralized vegetable on earth, accumulating minerals directly from the sea. Research is ongoing into just how bio-available these nutrients are when eaten by humans. But there’s little doubt that regular consumption of seaweed is exceedingly good for us. Some seaweeds come closer than any other wild food in providing a fully balanced diet from one organism.

More than half of the oxygen we breathe comes from marine plants, like phytoplankton and seaweed. Every second breath we take is from oxygen produced by marine photosynthesis.

Over the past decades seaweed has been under serious threat—climate change, seabed dredging, and fishing boat trawling have destroyed enormous amounts of seaweed growing on the ocean floor.

This is why Marine Conservation Zones, like Kingmere, are so important, with local fishers, divers and marine biologists working together to ensure these unique sites remain protected.

The ‘Help Our Kelp’ campaign is a local milestone and ambitious achievement, to restore the vast underwater Kelp Forest off the Sussex coast. The recent introduction of critical new byelaws for trawling exclusions saw overwhelming support by the local community.

We will continue to support re-wilding the sea, and ocean conservation, with a celebratory ‘Sea Worthy’ festival planned for 2023. You can help us with this in many ways! A good start is to support marine conservation organisations such as the Marine Conservation Society, the Blue Marine Foundation, Ocean Conservancy and others.

Underwater Sea Kelp Forest | Photo by Shane Stagner

Seven Sisters South Downs National Park | Photo by Joseph Pearson

Sussex Coast Seaweed