Important resting grounds for migratory birds on Montenegro’s Lake Skadar suffer serious setback ++ Balkan Peninsula’s largest lake comes under huge pressure ++ EuroNatur demands immediate stop to Porto Skadar Lake project
Press release, 13 October 2016
Radolfzell. With the parliamentary elections in Montenegro due to take place on 16 October, the EuroNatur foundation is urgently calling on the new government not to allow any developments in the Lake Skadar National Park, one of the most valuable jewels of Europe’s natural heritage. There are already plans for extensive building projects in the national park. “Lake Skadar is of international importance, particularly for the protection of migratory birds. We are calling for the decision makers responsible to put an immediate stop to the Porto Skadar Lake project. At the moment, the label “national park” is being misused to boost luxury tourism. In a national park, the conservation of nature must be at its heart“, says Gabriel Schwaderer, head of EuroNatur.
As part of the Porto Skadar Lake project, French businessman Lionel Sonigo hopes to build a large luxury hotel with panorama restaurant, private villas and a yachting marina on the six-hectare Biški Rep peninsula. On the building project’s website, the investor praises the unique flora and fauna of the location. “Using unspoilt nature in your advertising, whilst at the same time planning to concrete over a national park with buildings is more than just cynical. This unique lake landscape will be reduced to a mere backdrop for the pleasure-seeking super rich,” says Schwaderer.
Further trouble is threatened by the regional development plan for the Lake Skadar National Park that the Montenegrin construction and planning concern CAU is currently preparing on behalf of the government. This plans, amongst other things, to push forward the development of hotels, marinas, streets and a motorway by 2025. To allow large boats and ships to get directly from the Adriatic to the holiday homes planned for the lakeside, there are plans to dig out wide, deep shipping channels in the lake – a lake known for its shallows – and in the largely unspoilt Bojana river which drains the lake into the Adriatic. It is no surprise that CAU has an interest in developing the tourism sector: the company was tasked with bringing the Porto Skadar Lake project to fruition by Sonigo,” says Gabriel Schwaderer.
With its lush vegetation and extensive floodplains and shallows, Lake Skadar, a lake rich in fish, is an important site for hundreds of thousands of migratory birds to overwinter and rest on the Adriatic flyway. Amongst the watery landscapes of peat and reed beds in the north of the lake, one can find one of the last breeding colonies in Europe of the Dalmatian pelican. Yet where there are now rare birds fishing, speed boats and yachts could soon be ploughing through the shallows.
EuroNatur, Konstanzer Straße 22, 78315 Radolfzell, Germany, tel.: 0049 (0)7732 - 92 72 10, fax: 0049 (0)7732 - 92 72 22, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.euronatur.org, press contact: Katharina Grund, contact: Gabriel Schwaderer