Impressions of 2019 Yellow Sea and Bohai Wetlands International Conference (Yancheng, China)

Photo blog by Theunis Piersma on the Yellow Sea and Bohai Wetlands International Conference, 26-30 September, in Yancheng, China

Bill Sutherland: “Make the Yellow Sea one of the best places in the world to do coastal research”

Sutherland pleas for a local research community in a global setting: “show leadership in global collaborations and create an evidence-based World Heritage Site. This would be a first!”.


And the plan!

Forum discussion

EAAF participants discuss future of coastal wetlands in Asia and Russia.

Godwit inspiration

Bar-tailed Godwits inspire the conference delegates.

International representation

Including the Dutch flag!

Asian Development Bank

Presenting strict criteria to ensure livelihoods.

Second forum discussion

Discussion on coastal conservation and sustainable development with Nicola Crockford and Prof Lei Guangchun. Crockford: “China takes leadership  role in coastal conservation and management”.

The spirit of change!


Meeting the IUCN president

Honored to present Marathon Migrants to Zhang Xinsheng, the president of IUCN China

Management and research program

Prof Zhijun Ma outlines an ambitious programme of management and research in the context of the World Heritage Nomination.

Prof Zhijun Ma Of Fudan University

Proud of Global Flyway Network delegates

Theunis was not the only Global Flyway Network delegate. Here are his flock mates.

GFN folks during low tide at the Yancheng site – foraging! Hebo Peng, David Melville and Songlin Wang.
David Meville during a forum, with besides him Jimmy Choi.

Theunis’ presentation

Nicola Crockford: “Theunis Piersma of @GlobalFlyway wows the opening ceremony of the Yancheng Yellow & Bohai Sea Wetlands International Conference with his inspirational keynote – a single Theunis is larger than life, but in triplicate, quadruplicate and even quintuplicate he is quite something…!”

Further reading about GFN’s Bohai work?

Again in 2019, during the spring migration season the GFN team worked in Bohai Bay, China, to study Red Knots and Great Knots on northward migration. The PDF of the report can be downloaded here:image-1

The necessity of tracking individual birds

Jimmy Choi (flanked by Prof Zhijun Ma on the left and Lei Weipan (Leiming) on the right) makes points about tracking to establish proper reserve boundaries and the need for scientists to communicate better with the local communities.


Forum on public engagement

Huth Lean from Cambodia explains importance of linking local cultures to the world. Nice parallel with Iepen Mienskip movement in Frisian communities in The Netherlands!

Huth Lean from Cambodia

Terry Townsend makes a plea using shorebird tracking studies to bring the fascination with these connectors to the public.

Terry Townsend @BirdingBeijing

John McKinnon gives an visionary account on a changing world and how the engage people with change.

John McKinnon


Interface between aquaculture and biodiversity

Songlin Wang, acknowledging GFN, warns against the dangerous poison-related effects on sea cucumber farming. Shorebirds as indicator! Even for healthy, ecofriendly seafood.

Hebo Peng (BFU, RUG, NIOZ) summarizing the charged interface between aquaculture and shorebird foraging opportunities along the China coastline. Marine organism as food for birds and people.



Theunis Piersma is in the front, sitting next to the mayor of Yancheng.

And this!