Today in Podgorica, the NGO Green Home organized an international conference “Improving institutional cooperation in the Bojana river basin” with the aim of improving cooperation between the two countries, Albania and Montenegro, when it comes to the protection and integral management of the common basin with a focus on the protection of the European eel – Anguilla Anguilla (L.).
The conference was attended by representatives of the line ministries of the two countries, institutions, universities, and the civil sector. At the event, the activities of the line Ministries of both countries in the process of harmonizing with EU standards were presented, as well as the activities of GIZ on the production of the Draft for Eel Management Plan in the Drim basin under the leadership of Dr. Janek Simons of the Institute for Fisheries in Potsdam.
The Bojana river basin represents the main migration route for fish species that spawn in fresh water, as well as for species that go to spawn in the sea via the Bojana river. The Bojana River is a particularly important habitat for the European eel Anguilla Anguilla (L.), which uses the Bojana River to inhabit both Skadar and Šas lakes. The European eel is a species whose population decline was established in the 80s and which has been on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as critically endangered since 2010.
Research on the condition of the glass eel population on the Bojana River is the main result of this project. The research was carried out by prof. Dr. Dragana Milošević with her team in 2021 and 2022 and this is the first research of this kind in the last 20 years in this area. Significant results were obtained, which represent a good basis for further research. Environmental pressures that are a potential threat to the state of the glass eel population, as well as other species in this area, have also been mapped, which include the presence of waste and wastewater, filling and occupation of habitats by the construction of a large number of temporary and permanent structures on the shores of Bojana, soil erosion, washing soil from agricultural lands and similarly.
At the conference, it was concluded that intensive cooperation and exchange of information between institutions at the cross-border level is necessary, which is not currently at the appropriate level, both between the two countries and in the entire Drin river basin. It is necessary to continue the research so that, based on scientific data, conclusions can be drawn about the state of the population of this species and the measures that should be taken.