Lonely Planet Writer

Montenegro’s Lake Skadar could be endangered by new eco-resort

Montenegro’s Lake Skadar National Park should get a luxury eco-resort in 2019, the first such project in this part of Europe. However, environmentalist groups claim that the planned development poses a threat to the national park’s ecosystem and its endemic species.

Kayaking on Skadar Lake
Kayaking on Skadar Lake Image by Julian Love/Lonely Planet

Work on the Porto Skadar Lake project, worth 75 million euros, has recently started. Plans for the resort include a hotel, luxury villas with swimming pools, restaurants, marina and a commercial centre. Its location is at the mouth of the River Crnojevića and Skadar Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in the Balkans and shared between Montenegro and neighbouring Albania. The lake was given national park status in 1983 and has been protected by the Ramsar Convention since 1996. It is famous for biodiversity, with 281 bird species, 50 mammal species and 48 species of fish, and it’s an important reserve for wetland birds, in particular the endangered Dalmatian pelican.

Dalmatian pelicans.
Dalmatian pelicans. Image by Getty Images

Local NGOs dealing with conservation issues are concerned that mass tourism within the national park is a threat to its ecosystem, and have launched a website called Save Skadar Lake and a petition asking Montenegro’s government to stop the building of the resort. The country’s Ministry of Tourism and Sustainable Development, on the other hand, has stated that the resort will have minimal environmental impact and that the lake’s biodiversity will not be endangered, as studies on environmental protection were carried out prior to the issue of the building permit.