To further develop the roadmap for advancing management of Gochang Tidal Flat after its designation as a World Heritage Site in Ro Korea, a 2-day technical workshop for the Gochang Tidal Flat World Heritage site took place in Ramsar Gochang Tidal Flat Center in Gochang County on 6th – 7th April, 2022. Experts, key stakeholders and local NGOs and community representatives gathered to envision concrete measures for wholistic conservation, and effective management of the tidal flat located in the Yellow Sea region. Ms. Hyeseon Do, the Programme Officer of the EAAFP Secretariat, had an opportunity to present EAAFP’s mission, good practice sharing, emphasizing the significant importance of Gochang Tidal Flat for migratory waterbirds’ habitats and their Flyway.
Since 2009, Gochang County has put numerous efforts to achieve Korean tidal flats’ World Heritage Site designation in 2019; considering its ecological value and rich biodiversity, it was designated as a National Wetlands Protection Area as well as a Ramsar Site and was acknowledged as a key site for the county’s Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Especially, according to Ramsar Sites Information Service, Gochang Tidal Flat is a key breeding and roosting site for globally threatened/endangered species as well as various shorebirds. These include Oriental White Stork (EN), Saunders’s Gull (VU), and Far Eastern Curlew (EN).
The Technical Workshop was kicked off with the opening speech by Mr. Ki Sang Yoo, Gochang County Mayor. The workshop covered various issues by invited speakers, from the focus on Gochang Tidal Flat’s unique geological features as well as ecological values that ultimately provide ideal habitats for migratory waterbirds. In her presentation “Korean Tidal Flats’ Value along the Flyway of Migratory Waterbirds”, Ms. Hyeseon Do accentuated the need for further cooperative management of the Yellow Sea region among the adjacent countries in order to alleviate the severe decrease in the number of migratory waterbirds. In addition, she encouraged the county to consider the potential Flyway Network Site (FNS) designation, which could facilitate Gochang County to develop sustainable development not only for effective tidal flat management but also for the local community’s prosperity. She especially delivered two case examples: Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation (TWSC), illustrating cooperation of site management led by the local community and adjacent countries (Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands); and Hong Kong Mai Po Fishpond Management Agreement Scheme, for collaboration with local communities at a local level.
The workshop was successfully concluded by putting an emphasis that more thorough plans need to be developed considering integrative management delivered between local NGOs and the government. Moreover, the balance between the local fishermen community’s livelihood and the biodiversity of the tidal flat must be taken into account when it comes to strategic development. Along with this positive atmosphere, Ms. Vivian Fu, the Communication Officer of the EAAFP Secretariat had a chance to introduce relevant CEPA materials developed by EAAFP Partners to the local stakeholders, to enhance conservation messaging and CEPA.
On the second day, the participants including the local community, visitor center staff, local NGOs, and the EAAFP Secretariat members were invited to join the ecological tour of the Gochang Tidal Flat and Daejuk Island. The tour was led by the local tour guide, Mr. Jin Keun, who provided an informative interpretation of Gochang Tidal Flat’s geology and biodiversity, and shared his experience on the local fishery. During the tour, the participants were able to spot various migratory waterbirds, such as Far Eastern Curlew, Eurasian Oystercatcher, and Falcated Ducks. Such peaceful movements made by those birds were enough to persuade the participant how important Gochang Tidal Flat is for migratory waterbirds.