Montenegro: Protecting marine habitats thanks to a map based on satellite information

The Ministry

Montenegro is known for its attractive coastline and seashores. The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro (MSDT) is responsible for developing and implementing policies, strategies, plans and secondary legislation on environmental issues. The MSDT plays a central role in the supervision of spatial planning and tourism development in Montenegro.

The challenge

In July 2011, the MSDT took part in the MPA2 project “Start Up of Katič Marine Protected Area in Montenegro and Assessment of Marine and Coastal Ecosystems along the Coast”, funded by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea within a bilateral cooperation for the implementation of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSSD) of Montenegro.

The project aimed at supporting the procedure for the recognition of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in Montenegro, as a way to target actions for environmental protection.

The satellite solution

In order to assess the situation of marine biodiversity in coastal areas, the MSDT contracted the Italian company S.G.I to analyse the seabed and coastal areas. To do so, S.G.I used satellite-derived information about the type of existing seabed (rocky, sandy, vegetated, etc.). The same information was also used to screen coastal areas with the identification of conflicts at sea, for example in the Lustica-Traste bay, and a joint assessment of terrestrial and marine values. The result of these assessments was a map informing the Ministry of suitable areas for the conservation of biodiversity.

The result

This map has provided the basis and the management plan for the realisation of “Katic” MPA in front of the city of Petrovac. The Ministry also used the map to define measures for the protection of marine coastal habitats and species for a sustainable use of biodiversity. The map also led to improving public awareness on the biodiversity value of marine ecosystems by publishing several educational communication materials.