Crime Scene Adriatic Coast

International Conference strengthens the protection of migrating birds in the Eastern Adriatic


Press release from 7 October 2014

Radolfzell. “Bird hunting and the destruction of habitats make the Balkan peninsula a death trap for overwhelming numbers of migrating birds. Among the birds affected are the familiar skylark and quail and we would find it hard to imagine our cultural landscapes without them. We will only be able to change this situation if state and non government organizations work together closely on both national and international levels” states Gabriel Schwaderer, Managing Director of the nature conservation organization EuroNatur.

The protection of the migrating birds was the central focus of the Second Adriatic Flyway Conference which took place from 1st to 3rd October in Albania. More than 70 experts from 20 countries congregated for the conference in Durres. Among them were scientists, high-ranking representatives of the European Commission, international conventions such as the Bonn Convention as also representatives of international nature conservation organizations such as Bird Life and Wetlands International. The conference was organized by EuroNatur working with partner organizations from the countries along the Adriatic Flyway.

The wetlands on the Adriatic coast from Slovenia to Albania are of global significance as a resting place for many bird species. “In the last few years we have achieved a considerable amount for the protection of migrating birds in the countries along the Eastern Adriatic. But we are still a long way from reaching an acceptable status here. Wetlands are still being destroyed and migrating birds shot for sport on a large scale,” Gabriel Schwaderer emphasizes. Even where the hunting regulations are reasonable there is still room for improvement. Among other things there are species which are under protection across the EU but which still have to be removed from the list of birds that hunters are allowed to shoot. Above all there has to be stricter control over the application of regulations and further no-hunting areas need to be established in important resting and wintering areas along the Adriatic Flyway.

The ban on bird hunting which the Albanian government passed at the beginning of 2014 was warmly and explicitly welcomed by the participants at the conference. However they also made an urgent plea for better implementation of the ban. The gap between paper and practice remains a major problem not only in the Balkans but within the European Union.
“35 years after the passing of the Bird Directive for the protection of wild birds there is still no comprehensive protection of migrating birds. Loopholes, the granting of exceptions and the lack of controls and sanctions all undermine the goal of the Directive” as Gabriel Schwaderer points out.

In the course of the Second Adriatic Flyway Conference it became clear what a great potential there is to improve the situation. A large number of organizations are working for the protection of migrating birds in Europe and, in particular, along the Adriatic Flyway. These efforts need to be even better coordinated if their power is to be felt. Among other projects EuroNatur and its partner organizations are planning to work together on the agreement  for the conservation of African-Eurasian migrating water birds  (AEWA) to make the Adriatic Flyway safer for Crane, Grey Heron, Garganey and Co. All the countries along the Adriatic Flyway except Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia have signed the AEWA agreement.

Further  Information:

  • More on the EuroNatur projects for the protection of migratory birds in Europe
  • Programme of the 2nd Adriatic Flyway conference

For further inquiry contact: EuroNatur, Konstanzer Straße 22, 78315 Radolfzell, Tel.: +49 (0)7732 - 92 72 10, Fax: +49 (0)7732 - 92 72 22,,, media contact: Katharina Grund, contact person: Gabriel Schwaderer

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