’At one site this year more than 3,000 tiny fish were found’

BUSY TIME OF THE YEAR Ali Beckett, who is the information officer for Chichester Harbour
BUSY TIME OF THE YEAR Ali Beckett, who is the information officer for Chichester Harbour
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KEEPING an eye on the state of our wildlife is a key part of Ed Rowsell’s job.

As conservation officer it is his duty to know the ups and downs of our harbour birds, watch for the blooming of rare arable flowers and see if any chicks appear from the nests of breeding seabirds.

What can be much more challenging is seeing how life under the waves is doing. Each year, Ed sets out with a team from Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority and attempts to count the baby fish.

A net is laid at key sites around the harbour.

When it is hauled in, the catch is placed in a large bucket of water. Each fish is identified, measured and recorded before being released back into the harbour.

At one site this year over 3,000 tiny fish were found!

This information helps us find out more about the health of fish stocks and the harbour.

Next up Ed will be surveying sea grass beds and ponds with all the data feeding back into harbour management.

Ed isn’t the only one out and about as the warmer weather is with us.

Our trusty rangers Georgia and Keith will now be seen all round the harbour footpaths operating their strimmers and mowers.

Keeping the footpaths clear and accessible is an ongoing challenge.

Like our gardens at home, the combination of rain and sunshine keeps everything growing apace at this time of year.

The ranger team, assisted by seasonal staff, will cut the 92km of footpath in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty at least twice this season. That is the equivalent of walking from Portsmouth to Brighton!