No buyer found for the Salina Ulcinj

On January 16th, the Montenegrin Salina Ulcinj of 257.8m square kilometres was supposed to be sold for a minimum of 257.8 Million Euro (see our report of January 10, 2012). However, no matching bid was made until the until of the auction. This is a partial victory for nature conservation as a start. Yet, the sword of Damocles is still hanging above the Salina, a vital resting area for migratory birds on the eastern Adriatic coast, as everything points to Montenegro's intention to destroy this unique nature reserve and to transform it into an area of intensive tourism.

As a start, the Montenegrin government is presently building a 15 Million Euro road bridge over the inlet of Port Milena to the Laguna, which shall facilitate access to the Salina Ulcinj even to the largest yachts, despite of the fact that the major part of the Laguna is used for salt production. In addition, a water pipeline to Ulcinj is built to supply potable water from the Lake of Shkodër to a large number of tourists. On the other hand, the Montenegrin government blocks the implementation of nature conservation plans which were elaborated in line with a project of coastal development to transform the Bojana Delta into a regional park, in order to mitigate the effects of tourist development and to protect this vitally important habitat for migratory birds.

Yet there is still hope: as no buyer could be found for the Salina Ulcinj until today, on January 16th the shareholders assembly, with the majority of the company Eurofond, decided to solicit foreign loans to resume the operation of the Salina at least during 2012. Montenegrin nature conservation organisations will use this adjournment to try, together with their international partners such as EuroNatur, to achieve the modification of the spatial plan, with the aim to declare the Salina Ulcinj a protected area because of its global importance for migratory birds on the eastern Adriatic coast.

“The area should be developed for tourism, but not by transforming it into a miniature Dubai, but as a nature park preserving the unique salt meadows as a resting and nesting area for rare bird species. There is no need for hotels, but for well-protected nature areas and offers of sustainable tourism”, says EuroNatur project leader Dr. Martin Schneider-Jacoby.

Link to press report “Most important resting area for migratory birds on the Eastern Adriatic coast to be transformed into a building site” of January 10, 2012


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