Freshwater Fisheries Experts from China Visit Great Lakes

Traverse City, Michigan | June 15, 2018

A delegation of fisheries experts from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and The Nature Conservancy’s Healthy Rivers program in China visited Michigan this week.

The goal of their trip was to learn and share knowledge about freshwater fisheries with their colleagues from TNC and the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the International Joint Commission. Experts from Michigan Sea Grant and the city of Traverse City also participated in discussions.

“Freshwater fisheries in China and the Great Lakes face many of the same issues, such as declining populations, invasive species, barriers to connectivity and habitat degradation,” said Matt Herbert, aquatic ecologist for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan. “These types of information exchanges help us share solutions with each other, too.”

The first stop in their visit was a boat tour in Grand Traverse Bay, near Elk Rapids. In 2015, TNC and the MDNR worked with partners from Central Michigan University to create suitable spawning habitat for native fish at the site by rebuilding a freshwater reef using more than 450 tons of cobble rocks.

After touring the site, the group spent time sharing the specific issues and potential solutions they have found related to freshwater fisheries in their respective countries. Finally, they toured a fish passage site near the Boardman River where research is being conducted by the GLFC and other partners to develop and test how to improve fish passage, without allowing invasive sea lamprey to pass upstream.

“The Nature Conservancy is a global organization that works on freshwater issues across the world, from China’s Yangtze River to the African Great Lakes to our North American Great Lakes,” said Dr. Scott Sowa, director of science in Michigan for TNC. “We see the common links between people and nature in these systems and we strive to work together in the most effective ways.”

“We have more in common than we are different,” said Dr. Wang Luhong, project officer for TNC’s Healthy Rivers program in China. “We all want clean water, healthy fish and good places to live. We can work together to learn how to do the best we can for people and nature.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Melissa Molenda
The Nature Conservancy
(517) 230-0818


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