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  Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 8:02pm by Andrej Vizi

A Sustainable Development Challenge

The largest freshwater lake of Balkans is famous for its well-preserved nature, astonishing landscapes, mesmerizing history and traditional architecture, as well as one of a kind cuisine. Infamous, at least to my perception, for the inconsistent and largely non-existent management - the lake of this size and value is a big bite for developing nature protection system. The fact that Skadar Lake belongs to two countries, Montenegro, and Albania, additionally complicates the establishment of solid, conservation-oriented management, essential for the appetites of fast emerging construction and tourism industry.


But how to setup the conservation landmarks? Recently, the managing body for Skadar Lake in Montenegro stated what seemed to be a complete nonsense: “We don’t know exactly if the current state of Skadar Lake’s ecosystem is good or bad.” But that’s true. Without a set of measurable parameters, tailored to fit the needs of any freshwater lake management, it’s impossible to understand the threats and undertake long-term conservation measures.

However, it is not a simple task.

The most extensive limnologic study conducted so far on Skadar Lake was performed in 1970’s within a USA-Yugoslavian project, which yielded the famous “blue book”, “Biota and limnology of Skadar Lake” which is still a reference book for many aspects of lake’s ecosystem. There has been a number of narrow scientific studies since, which showed sometimes dramatic changes in the species, eutrophication levels.

The e.g. concentration of pollutants, the composition of fish species, eutrophication levels etc. This raises the question of plausible conservation measures at Skadar Lake, given the huge time span between researchers and the overall economic and social development in last 40 years. The first step in resolving the problem, again, must be the selection of good ecological indicators and their reference values for the current state of the ecosystem.

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