In 2013, the Petrovic Njegos Foundation and the Prince Albert II Foundation signed the Cooperation Agreement and the Financial Convention for the first joint project related to the Skadar Lake.
In the presence of Prince Albert and Prince Nikola, Vice-Presidents of the two Foundations, Mr. Bernard Fautrier and Ms. Tanja Turken-Spicanovic signed the Cooperation Agreement that identifies projects that will be implemented in Montenegro, in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Skadar Lake National Park and the Institute for Marine Biology.
During the discussions, special emphasis was given to the need to protect some of the endangered seashell species, growing of such species in protected areas and return to the sea. For that reason, within this program, FPN supported the participation of four representatives of the Institute for Marine Biology of Montenegro in the Conference on the Protection of the Mediterranean, organized by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which was held in late October, early November 2013.
FIRST PROJECT: “CENTER FOR EDUCATION AND PROMOTION OF THE SKADAR LAKE”
The first steps in the implementation of the agreed cooperation with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation were made already in July 2013, when the implementation of the project “Center for education and promotion of the Skadar Lake” started.
Primary goal of this project was to protect the Dalmatian Pelican (pelecanus crispus), as the most important nesting bird in the Skadar Lake National Park, as well as one of the most endangered bird specie in Montenegro, as well as to promote the Skadar Lake as a tourist destination. This project was implemented in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency of Montenegro, the Skadar Lake National Part and the Center for the protection and research of birds (CZIP) from Podgorica.
One of the key activities of this project was the repair and restoring of the birdwatching tower in the place called Stanaj, which offers a good view of the Panceva oka reserve. Besides, there were 6 info panels installed, offering basic information about the Skadar Lake, the reserve and the pelicans to the visitors, and along the international road that connects Montenegro and Albania there was a billboard installed that invites travellers and bird lovers to visit this open information center. Restoration of the tower was particularly important for the protection of pelicans, because it gives visitors the possibility to watch these birds without endangering their nests by watching them from the boats, which was not the case so far. It should be mentioned that there are approximately 30 pairs of these pelicans nesting in the Skadar Lake region and their population is recovering in recent years, with the help of the activities implemented by the Skadar Lake National Park, the Natural Museum, CZIP and others.
“PELICANS DAY” ORGANIZED FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MONTENEGRO
Following the successfully finalized works on the birdwathing pole and the open information center, on 5 June 2014 we have organized the “Pelicans Day”. This event, by which we also marked the World Environment Day, gathered all the actors interested in the survival of pelicans and protection of Skadar Lake biodiversity.
Mr. Goran Skataric, Director of the Skadar Lake National Park, emphasized that the “Pelicans Day” is aimed at motivating the citizens to act in a responsible manner, thus contributing to the preservation of the protected nature and environment in general.
Besides representatives of the organizations that participated in the implementation of this project, representatives of the numerous media, primary school students from Golubovci and Tuzi have also attended this event. They had an opportunity to hear short lectures and learn more about the Skadar Lake flora and fauna, as well as to watch the birds from the newly renovated tower. Besides, the day before, CZIP employees organized a creative workshop on pelicans for the six grade students from the Primary School “Sutjeska” from Podgorica.
“PINNA NOBILIS” – ONGOING PROJECT
Cooperation with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation continued after the end of the Skadar Lake project. Namely, two malacologists, prof. emeritus Nardo Vincente from the Mediterranean Institute for Oceanography in Marseille and prof. Jose Rafael Garcia from the University of Valencia, visited Montenegro in June 2014, with the aim to analyze the situation and prepare the project of artificial breeding of the mollusk Pinna Nobilis.
They spent 7 days in the Institute for Marine Biology in Kotor, and presented their knowledge and experience to the colleagues from the Institute, and gave them guidelines for quality preparation of the Pinna Nobilis project. Besides, together with the divers from the Institute in Kotor, the experts visited 6 important locations in the Kotor Bay, inhabited by this mollusk, in order to analyze the quality of living communities in the Bay.
As a result of this visit, it was agreed to adapt the draft project in accordance with the newly acquired knowledge, and it was proposed to organize a visit of the two Montenegrin experts to the two foreign institutions. It was also agreed to develop a program for a summer school in the area of environmental protection that would be presented by the end of 2014.