Republic of Korea names a new Ramsar site for World Wetlands Day
World Wetlands Day 2006
in Republic of Korea
Republic of Korea announces new Ramsar site on WWD.
The Ramsar Secretariat is very pleased to announce that the Ministry of Environment, with the collaboration of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the authorities of Suncheon City, has designated the Suncheon Bay as a Wetland of International Importance, as of 20 January 2006. This is the fourth Ramsar Site in the Republic of Korea, with a combined surface area of 4,519 hectares. On the occasion of World Wetlands Day, 2nd February 2006, the site management authorities are organising a designation ceremony to announce the Ramsar listing - the event, followed by the Korean Wetland Symposium, will be attended by the Senior Advisor for Asia-Pacific, Dr. Guangchun Lei of the Ramsar Convention Secretariat.
Suncheon Bay (3,550 hectares, 34°48'N 127°24'E) comprises a wide estuarine tidal flat and intertidal marshes, creating one of the most diverse and beautiful coastal ecosystems in the country. Two rivers flow through the city and surrounding rice fields at the northern part of the bay, and numerous streams flow through the site, sustaining clean water quality and influx quantity. The tidal flats are largely muddy with shallow salt marshes supporting a wide-range of species, including at least 25 threatened birds, e.g. Black-faced Spoonbill, Nordmann's Greenshank, Spoonbill Sandpiper, and Relict Gull. It is the only wintering site for Grus Monacha and supports over 1% of the population of Common Shelduck, Hooded Crane, Eurasian Curlew, Saunder's Gull and Kentish Plover. It has important scenic, tourist, and cultural heritage values, and the annual production of fish, seaweed, and mollusks, mainly harvested using traditional techniques, is substantial. Rapid urban expansion is noted as a potential threat. The Suncheon Bay Natural Eco-park was established in 2004 and a management plan is underway which focuses on protection of biological resources, pollution abatement, institutional improvement, and public awareness. [01/02/06]