Mississippi River - Yangtze River

Concept: 

Known as the Mississippi-Yangtze EcoPartnership, this partnership will focus activities on experience sharing, technique exchange and demonstration projects in areas including fisheries monitoring and habitat conservation.

Key Accomplishments:

Building on the multi-year fisheries science exchange of the EcoPartnerhip, in December 2016 the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture announced that a full year fishing moratorium had been successfully completed on the Chishui River, a key tributary of the Upper Yangtze Rare and Endemic Fish Protection Area, where the Nature Conservancy is also working with the China Three Gorges Dam Corporation to return the Chishui to a near-natural condition.

Building on the China-U.S. Asian Carp Exchange developed by this EcoPartnership, the Zhejiang Beimei Agricultural Development Company opened an Asian Carp processing plant in Greenwood, Illinois.  The plant's operations have helped reduce the populations of various invasive Asian Carp species in the area.

The EcoPartnership worked together to introduce Environmental Flow to China and to design and promote its implementation on the China three Gorges Dams and Lower Jinsha Cascade. So far, China Three Gorges Dam has implemented 11 times of Environmental Flow experiments since 2011, and fish eggs from Four Family Asian Carps have increased by 31 times in 2017 compared with the number in 2011.

Asian Carps are native fish resources in China which fisherman have harvested and sold as food for thousands of years and Chinese researchers have rich knowledge about this species. However, in the Mississippi river basin, the invasive Asian carps is a huge problem and governments have invested a lot to control its numbers. From 2012 to 2016, the Ecopartnership organized workshops and exchange programs for researchers to deepen understanding of these fish, and also introduced the traditional Chinese methods to harvest the Asian carps called the unified catch method. The EcoPartnership also introduced business to develop their business model to utilize Asian Carps in the Mississippi River.

From 2017 to 2018, together with other partners, the EcoPartnership launched three conservation alliance: Chinese Sturgeon Conservation Alliance, Yangtze Finless Porpoise Conservation Alliance, e and the Yangtze Sturgeon Conservation Alliance to protect these species from extinction and conserve freshwater habitat that they depend on. 

During the past 6 years, more than 30 agreement and collaboration paper have been signed under the Yangtze-Mississippi Ecopartnership. More than 50 organizations including universities, research institutions, companies, government agencies and NGOs in China and the U.S. are involved in this partnership.

Through the past 6 years in the Ecopartnership and last 10 years of collaboration CFA and TNC have decided to sign another 5 years MOU in 2018 to continue their cooperation on river conservation and basin management on the Yangtze and Mississippi Rivers.

Work Plan: 
Task 1
Strengthen communication and visiting between the Yangtze and the Mississippi Rivers, promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation among research institutes in China and the U.S.
Task 2
Improve technology and method of survey, monitoring, planning and evaluation of fishery resources in the Yangtze River Basin.
Task 3
Develop research on effects of stock enhancement on rare and endemic fish species and important economic fish species, and promote the setup of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for stock enhancement.
Task 4
Plan for recognition and protection of priority protected areas the Yangtze, effectiveness evaluation of aquatic protected areas and developed Conservation Action Plan.
Task 5
Develop research on effectiveness of fishing ban regulations, improve regulations of fishing ban, and on impact assessment of fishing ban adjustment on fishermen’s livelihoods, and promote feasibility adjustment plan.