Kelp

Order Laminariales

Much of the shoreline of South Africa’s Atlantic coast is dominated by a dense growth of Kelp, also known as Seaweed or Sea Bamboo, stretching from the shore up to 3km seawards at depths of up to 30m. The Kelp “forests” thrive in the cold but nutrient rich water and count among the most productive ecosystems on the planet, their benefits even extending onto dry land where washed-up Kelp is utilised as a food source by many beach-living creatures who are in turn fed on by carnivores scouring the strand.

In South African waters five species of Kelp dominate, ranging in length from 1 to 12m when fully grown. Some Kelps can grow up to 50cm per day, though this isn’t true of local species. While they appear very plant-like, Kelp is actually the largest kinds of algae on the planet, with some species growing up to 80m long!

Among the Kelp thrives an enormous variety of invertebrates and fish, many of them commercially important species like rock lobster and perlemoen, while Kelp itself is much sought after, especially in the food production, cosmetic, health and fertilizer industries. The extensive tracts of Kelp lining the shore also diminishes the power of the waves, protecting animal and bird breeding and nesting sites on the beach and even human development along the coast.

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9 thoughts on “Kelp

  1. wetanddustyroads

    Ja, ek stem saam met Aletta – bamboes is volop by Paternoster (dis dalk hoekom daar soveel kreef gevang word … of dit nou wettig of onwettig is). Ons sien ook altyd baie by Tietiesbaai en Trekoskraal – beide groot trek pleisters vir die manne wat kreef vang.

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    1. DeWetsWild Post author

      Snaaks dat jy die krewe noem, Corna. Dis juis een van ons helderste herinneringe van Paternoster – ouens met Checkers-sakke vol krewe wat dit kom smous het waar ons op die strand sit en slapchips eet het.

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