The threat to Ulcinj Salina is still very much alive

Four Flamingos in Ulcinj Salina

Ulcinj Salina is a precious habitat for the Greater Flamingo. The bird is perfectly adapted to salt water life

© Aleksandar Radunovic / CZIP

EuroNatur demands the immediate protection of this wetland of international importance

Press release on 25th February  2015

Radolfzell. It's the start of the annual migration of birds and for many species of ducks and waterbirds the 1.500 hectares of the Ulcinj Salina represents one of the most important resting places on their route through the Mediterranean. But it could be the last time that Garganey and Spoonbill and many species of the Charadriiformes order will be able to home in here for a vital stopover to replenish their reserves of energy for the flight.The precious natural heritage of Ulcinj Salina is in danger of falling prey to the interests of developers of mass tourism. If this happens it will also mean the loss of one of the most important breeding grounds on the Adriatic coast. “We are witnessing the creeping destruction of of one the most important wetlands in the Mediterranean and nobody is doing anything to prevent it. We expect the Government of Montenegro to implement the national and international commitments made to protect the natural heritage of Ulcinj Salina,” says Gabriel Schwaderer, director of the internationally active EuroNatur nature conservation foundation. “ A truly fantastic part of Europe's natural and cultural heritage is at risk of being sacrificed to the greed of a few individuals.”

EuroNatur sees signs that there is a deliberate intention at work to make salt production in Ulcinj Salina impossible. Salt production is no enemy of  nature conservation. On the contrary: it is only through the annual flooding and subsequent slow drying out of the evaporation pans that favourable conditions are created for waterbirds and waders to breed, rest and winter there. If production ceases it will drastically reduce the Salina's value as a bird protection site. And if that happens developers will have better chances of being able to build on the site. There are plans for a marina, large-scale hotel complexes and a bungalow estate.

The details of ownership and land use rights at Ulcinj Salina are far from transparent. In 2005 the former state-owned company Solana „Bajo Sekuli?“ AD Ulcinj was bought by the Eurofonds concern. In 2012 Solana „Bajo Sekuli?“ AD Ulcinj was then declared bankrupt. Whether Eurofonds acquired the state-owned  Solana „Bajo Sekuli?“ AD Ulcinj only with rights to use the facility for salt production in Salina or whether it also acquired the ownership rights for the+ surrounding area of 1.500 hectares is at present in the process of being being settled in the law courts in Montenegro.

Despite this, there have already been eleven attempts by the company, and since 2012 also by the insolvency administrator, to sell the Salina for sums between 179 and 256 million euros. “Asking prices of this magnitude can have nothing to do with salt production but must apply to plans for development of tourism on a grand scale”, as Gabriel Schwaderer points out. This tallies with the fact that management of  Solana „Bajo Sekuli?“ AD Ulcinj has made no further investment of any kind  in salt production. Last year large pumps were stolen and destroyed and neither the company nor the insolvency administrator, too, did anything to stop the sabotage.

While it is true that the government and parliament in Montenegro passed a resolution to put Ulcinj Salina under protection in 2012, the fact is that nothing has been done. Instead the state of this precious natural treasure has been allowed to deteriorate more and more. Although Ulcinj Salina is a wetland of international importance according to the criteria of the Ramsar Convention and Montenegro has signed this convention, yet it has still not been entered in the list of Ramsar protected areas. All the criteria required of a European bird sanctuary are equally fulfilled in Ulcinj Salina.

EuroNatur appeals urgently to Montenegro as a candidate for European Accession to prevent Ulcinj Salina from being completely destroyed before the possible accession. In addition the foundation has made repeated representations to the Montenegrin government  advising the immediate protection of Ulcinj Salina and establishment of a management to secure and improve conditions in the Salina for resting and breeding bird species.
In the view of EuroNatur, the government of Montenegro is failing completely to observe its international obligations to nature conservation. This makes it vital for the EU Commission and EU member states to intervene if the Ulcinj Salina is to be saved.

Background information:

Further information:

EuroNatur, Konstanzer Str. 22, 78315 Radolfzell, phone: ++49-7732 - 92 72 10, fax: ++49-7732 - 92 72 22, email:, Internet:,
contact: Gabriel Schwaderer, media contact: Katharina Grund

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