5 June 2017
In late May, representatives from BirdLife Australia and BirdLife International hosted Indigenous Yawuru and Murujuga Rangers from Broome and Karratha, academics from Deakin University and representatives of the East Asian–Australasian Flyway Partnership and Woodside Energy in a visit to South Korea. While they were there they witnessed first-hand conservation work being conducted to preserve the intertidal mudflats of the Geum River Estuary [EAAF100] as well as the destruction of muddy shorelines.
Elsewhere on the shores of the Yellow Sea, vast areas of mudflats have been reclaimed for the construction of industrial sites. This destruction of prime shorebird habitat has caused the populations of numerous species of shorebirds to decline rapidly.
With the mudflats that fringe the Yellow Sea in China and along the Korean Peninsula providing an essential stop-over site for the birds as they undertake a long migration between their Siberian breeding grounds and their wintering grounds in Australia, the delegation was keen to see what mitigation actions are being undertaken in the area.
The aim of the visit was to compliment research and share advice with Seocheon County and the South Korean government on shorebird management in the Geum River estuary, the most important site in South Korea, which supports 90,000 migrating shorebirds, including many displaced from reclaimed areas.
The delegation met with a number of dignitaries, including the Vice Minister, the Minister of the Environment, Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, and the Governor of Seocheon County, as well as the Australian Ambassador and a number of industry leaders.
The delegation also visited two universities in Seoul to build research networks and plan exchange programs.
One of the ornithological highlights was the sighting of a shorebird, banded in Victoria, on its way back to its breeding grounds in Siberia.
This project is funded by Woodside Energy.
Original link: http://birdlife.org.au/media/seoul-mates/
Relevant link: Geum River Estuary [EAAF100] (Flickr)