Conservation Plan for migratory shorebirds in the East Asian – Australasian Flyway

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In response to the decreasing number of migratory shorebirds in the East Asian – Australasian Flyway (EAAF), WWF-Hong Kong has initiated the development of a strategic conservation plan for priority migratory shorebirds in the Flyway. The main objective of the project is to ensure that "a flyway-wide Conservation Plan is in place to guide governments, conservationists, environmental NGOs and researchers to implement priority actions to conserve migratory shorebirds in the EAAF.”

In early December 2013, WWF-Hong Kong convened a three-day workshop in Hong Kong bringing together 23 key stakeholders to guide the development of the conservation plan. Participants represented two Government agencies, seven non-governmental organisations with international conservation programmes for migratory waterbirds, three waterbird conservation networks and three shorebird research organisations.

Flock of mixed migratory shorebirds. Copyright: Neil Fifer


Presentations and discussions built on a desktop-based assessment of the status of migratory shorebird populations. The assessment was developed in the first phase of the project and provided the basis for selecting 20 priority shorebird populations.

Workshop participants.Copyright: WWF Hong Kong

Participants agreed on a set of guiding principles for the development of the conservation plan:

  • The plan should focus on addressing key threats to the Yellow Sea coastal wetlands in China and in the Republic of Korea as these support the largest concentration of priority populations and are under the highest threat. 
  • An initial set of activities for international collaboration at specific sites should be identified. The proposed sites are: Geum Estuary (Seocheon County / Gunsan City), Yalu Jiang (Donggang County, Dandong, Liaoning), Luannan Coast (Luannan County, Tanghai, Hebei) and Jiangsu Coast (including mouth of the Yangtze). 
  • These sites should be brought as examples of good integrated coastal management to local government and coastal Provincial/Prefectural Governments around the Yellow Sea. 
  • In addition to site-based actions, a broader programme of activities is needed to address awareness raising, capacity building, enhanced monitoring, migration research and best practice in coastal management.
Endangered Spotted Greenshank. Copyright: John and Jemi Holmes

During the workshop participants also highlighted the need for further research on the migration routes of shorebirds that spend their non-breeding periods in Southeast Asian countries.

Read the Report of the Workshop and learn more on theWWF-Hong Kong website.

A consultation document is expected to be available by mid-2014, and the final plan launched at the 8th Meeting of Partners of the EAAF-Partnership, one of the Ramsar Regional Initiatives, to be held in January 2015.

For further information, please contact Ken Gosbell ken@gosbell.id.au or Bena Smith bsmith@wwf.org.hk

Report by Lew Young, Senior Advisor for Asia-Oceania

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