update on Shorebirds in China Bohai Bay

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: update on Shorebirds in China Bohai Bay
From: Adrian Boyle <>
Date: Sun, 1 May 2011 08:24:05 +0800 (WST)

Hi all 

This is unfortunately not an email where I brag about regularly seeing 3 
Nordmann’s Greenshanks. Nor is it to mention the vast numbers of migratory 
shorebirds that increase by their thousands each day. 

It is in fact an email to ask a favour of the birding aus community. 

Im asking for people to please if they have not already sent letters to the 
ministers mentioned in the Wingspan article Minutes to Midnight to do so 

With seeing the destruction since my visit last year and in the past 48 hours 
hearing of future plans the article really should have be named Seconds to 

As is mentioned in a previous email about Bohai Bay last year

You will have read how there is practically no Shorebird habitat left in the 
northern Bohai Sea. Our 3 study sites in 2009 were/are the most important sites 
for Red Knots in our flyway with a minimum count of over 60,000. Last year one 
of our sites Zuidong started being destroyed. What was once a mudflat teaming 
with tens of thousands of shorebirds is now a wind blown desert waiting to be 
built on. They are still pumping mud from the small remaining mudflat in that 
area but with disturbance high only a few hundred Knots instead of thousands 
are feeding there. 

Beipu further to the west of Zuidong is a 4km stretch of mud that last year 
held over 80,000 Curlew Sandpipers and that’s without even mentioning the 
thousands of other shorebirds using it. This is currently under development. 
Pumping of mud has already started 1.5 -2km off shore filling in the salt ponds 
behind. After this has been completed the remaining 1km of mudflat will be 
boxed in with walls and also filled in. 

The even more sad news is that we have just learnt that after this project is 
finished they will start on the adjacent Nanpu site. Nanpu is the last 
remaining shorebird site left along this coast and when it goes so will the 
shorebirds. It is predicted a massive decline in Red Knot as this is their only 
known staging area on northward migration. Its thought that the first stage of 
Beipu will take about a year with the second phase the following. Nanpu will 
probably start to vanish in 2013 but development happens so fast here it is 
hard to give a time line. 

Because they are doing relatively small areas each time it does not have to get 
high level approval and hence is not classed as a large reclamation project. ( 
Not that I think it would matter anyway) These small projects have added up and 
now its nearly all over. 

What can be done? Well to be honest I don’t think anyone knows. People power in 
China is limited and at this stage I can only see that a diplomatic solution 
can be arranged. CAMBA 
The China, Australia, Migratory Bird Agreement was signed i n 1986 but in my 
mind is not worth the paper its printed on. What has the signing of this 

Article IV 

Each Contracting Party shall endeavour, in accordance with its laws and 
regulations in force, to: 

(a) establish sanctuaries and other facilities for the management and 
protection of migratory birds and also of their environment; and 

(b) take appropriate measures to preserve and enhance the environment of 
migratory birds. In particular, each Contracting Party shall: 

(i) seek means to prevent damage to migratory birds and their environment. 

This is clearly not being addressed in China or in Australia. 

There are massive issues across the whole of the Yellow Sea and not just in 
China but obviously Bohai Bay has a soft spot in my heart and it is currently 
where im focusing my attention. 

Please ask your ministers what is happening with the CAMBA agreement and that 
talks need to be opened up urgently to halt this massive destruction that is 
happening all along the Chinese coastline. 

Many of the areas further south have not even been survey yet so we shall never 
know what has been lost. The areas that have been surveyed such as Rudong near 
Shanghai also provide disappointment as this was the site last year where 24 of 
the critically endangered Spoon-billed Sandpipers were seen feeding. This site 
like Beipu is currently under development. 

To make this email less depressing I wont start to mention the oil washing up 
and coating the birds or the km’s of fishing nets that are killing the birds at 
low tide. 

Some of the destruction from last year can be seen at. 

I thank you on behalf of the Shorebirds of the East Asian Australasian Flyway. 

Adrian Boyle a currently depressed Shorebird researcher.

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