Most important resting area for migratory birds on the Eastern Adriatic coast to be transformed into a building site

Solana Ulcinj is the largest lagoon of Montenegro and has been used for salt extraction since 1926; this way, it was preserved as wetland, while many other areas were dried up and used as building ground later on.

© Martin Schneider-Jacoby

Solana Ulcinj to be auctioned on January 16

Press release from 10 December 2012


Radolfzell.  Since December 16, countdown is running for the most important resting area for migratory birds on the Eastern Adriatic coast. On January 16, the Solana Ulcinj shall be sold for at least 257.8 million euro, which implies the imminent loss of these valuable wetlands.

"Many migratory birds - especially the garganeys, curlew sandpipers and slender-billed curlews - would not survive the tremendously long flight of up to 5.000 km from Eurasia to Africa without being able to roost in Solana Ulcinj. The risk that this ecological treasure falls victim to greedy businessmen is imminent", says Gabriel Schwaderer, managing director of the European Nature Heritage Fund EuroNatur. In the course of privatization of the formerly public enterprise in 2005, the company Eurofond acquired 75% of the Solana Ulcinj business for just 800.000 euro from the State of Montenegro, including the Solana area of totally 14.5 million m², a size of approximately 1.450 football grounds. Since then, the fate of the Solana Ulcinj is in the hands of Veselin Barovi? who controls Eurofond.

The fact that instead of winning salt, selling the ground now is a big deal, results from the scandalous amendments to the Spatial Plan of Montenegro (2005-2020) which were passed in 2007. The draft of the Spatial Plan was supported by the German Government, and experts from the GIZ (German society for international cooperation) participated in the preparation of the document. The aim of the original version of the Spatial Plan was to open up new economic perspectives to Montenegro through sustainable development. However, the amended version submitted to the Parliament for voting, clearly diverged from the one that underwent the environmental impact assessment and was presented to a public hearing shortly before:

First, the designation of new protected areas was deleted; unfortunately, this also applies for the Solana Ulcinj. Secondly, the Solana was earmarked for tourist land use, including - thirdly - the construction of new accommodation facilities. And so the important wetlands "Solana Ulcinj " were turned into a potential building site, exceeding the financial speculation value many times over.

"Being a candidate country for EU-membership, Montenegro cannot afford to declare a future Natura 2000 site a building terrain. There are still abandoned hotels from Yugoslavian times. Instead of more hotel accommodations, Montenegro needs attractive and effectively protected nature reserves", says EuroNatur project leader Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby.
EuroNatur supports the petition of the Montenegrin nature conservation and environment protection associations and strongly requests Prime Minister Igor Lukši? to withdraw the amendments from the Spatial Plan. The Solana Ulcinj must become a nature reserve, in order to be preserved as a tourist attraction and as a vital roosting place for migratory birds.

Background information:

  • Solana Ulcinj is also known under the company name Solana "Bajo Sekuli?" or "Ulcinj Salina".
  • Since 2003, EuroNatur supports the development of the Solana Ulcinj into a wildlife bird sanctuary and target area for nature tourism along the Adriatic flyway.

Further enquiries: 


Konstanzer Str. 22

78315 Radolfzell

Phone: +49 (0)7732 - 92 72 10

Fax: +49 (0)7732 - 92 72 22

E-Mail: info(at)


contact: Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby

 press contact: Katharina Grund

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