Page 1

The present publication is a part of the project:

NATURE AND WORKMANSHIP Information and awareness action for conservation of artificial coastal wetlands in the Mediterranean A project co-financed by:

European Commission - D.G. XI INSULA (International Scientific Council for Island Development) with the support of the Division of Ecological Sciences and the SC/CSI - Coastal Regions & Small Islands of UNESCO We would like to express our special gratitude to Theodora Petanidou and Hjalmar Dahm, for bringing their enthusiasm and experienced view of the salt world, as well as to the people who contributed to the development of this project: Miquel Morey, Rosario Martínez Garavito, Daniel Aubin, Mario Matulic, Lidia Lozano, Pedro Ballesteros, John Walmsley, Maria José Viñals, Alberto Luengo, Florentín Duque, Ruben Henríquez. Acknowledgements: SEHUMED Dirección General de Educación Ambiental - Generalitat Valenciana Fundación César Manrique Syndicat Intercommunal de la Côte d’Amour et de la Presqu’île Guérandaise Hellenic Saltworks S. A. University of Zadar Instituto da Conservação da Natureza (ICN), Lisboa. Serra Salt Machinery S. A. Salinas Marítimas Bras del Port S. A., Alicante MEDMARAVIS Servicios OMICRON, S. A. Viceconsejería de Medio Ambiente - Gobierno de Canarias “Valle Averto” WWF Natural Reserve, Venice Universitá della Tuscia Sociètè GATE, Palermo. University of the Aegean Università di Parma Wilderness - Studi Ambientali, Palermo. Paisajes Españoles Tecnopolis Soc. Coop., Messina. Studio Associato, Ingegneria per l’Ambiente, Oristano. Società Italiana per l’Ambiente S.n.c. “Sergej Masera” Maritime Museum, Piran. Regional Office for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage, Piran. Università degli Studi di Pavia Università degli Studi di Milano Priority Actions Programme Regional Activities Centre (UNEP, Mediterranean Action Plan) Split. Published by: INSULA (International Scientific Council for Island Development) c/o UNESCO - 1, rue de Miollis -75015 Paris - France Phone: +33 1 45 68 40 56 / Fax: +33 1 45 68 58 04 / E-mail: Direction of the Publication: Cipriano Marín Coordination: Giuseppe Orlando Graphic design: Luis Mir Translation: Gabinete Erasmus Colour: Yara S.L. Printed by Tingraf S.L. Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain September 1997

NATURE AND WORKMANSHIP Information and awareness promotion project 1997

International Scientific Council for Island Development

DG XI European Commission

Division of Ecological Sciencies SC/CSI Coastal Regions & Small Islands

Edited by

CIPRIANO MARÍN Coordination of the Publication

Giuseppe Orlando - Luis Mir -Alberto Luengo Authors Alberto Luengo, Zora Zagar, Boris Krizan, Giampaolo Rallo, Franco Cavallaro, Theodora Petanidou, Hjalmar Dahm, Renato Neves, Rui Rufino, John Walmsley, Aldo Pisano, Bruno Zava, Elisabetta de Carli, Lorenzo Fornasari, Carlo Violani, Damir Magas, Srdjan Truta, Baudouin Delneste, Marc Grosjean, Lorenzo Venzi, Antonio Sánchez, Emil Hilje, Nicolas Margaris, M. Theodorakakis, E. Kainadas, Antonio d’Ayala, Bruno Paliaga, Giuseppe Marfoli, Bartolomé Planas, Vladimir Skraèiæ, Nives Kozuliæ, David Calzada, Miguel Cuervo-Arango, Pilar Máñez, Maria José Viñals, Carlos Pérez, Alfredo Ruiz






** ** ***

DG XI European Commission

The coastal zones of Europe represent a great wealth. They are areas of natural beauty, ecological diversity and frequently also areas of cultural heritage.

Properly managed, these as-

legislative instruments, participation, technology, sectorial and territorial cooperation, the influence of EU policies and the role of inforrnation. These studies will draw conc1usions at

social and economic

the European level about the key to success related to each of

benefits to the local people and to the population as a whole. However, many coastal areas are presently being threatened by unplanned and uncoordinated development: new uncon-

these important themes in ICZM Through regular meetings of projects leaders and of national experts in ICZM, the demonstration programme will generate immediate results in terms of exchanging experi-

sets can provide both environmental,

trolled infrastructure , rapidly increasing population, and change of the economic structure are contributing to the degradation of coastal zones across the continent. The responsibility for planning and management of coastal areas belongs to the local, regional and national governments. However, due to the European dimension of the problems involved, as well as the significant influence of European policies and actions on the development of the coastal zones, it is the opinion of the European institutions that the Community also has a role to play in promoting a more integrated and sustainable approach to management of the European coastal zones. For this reason, in 1995, the European Commission launched a demonstration programme on Integrated Coastal Zone Management. This programme, a joint initiative of

ence and know-how.

The results of, and lessons learned

from, the demonstration projects will also be widely diffused through printed materials, the Internet and at coherence and public fora. The results of the demonstration projects are also intended to help guide the Commission in development of a proposal for possible further Community action or legislation in the area of Integrated Coastal Zone Management. At the end of 1998, the Commission will launch a European-wide discussion about the appropriate steps for the future. Although the Commission's demonstration programme in ICZM is centered around its selected demonstration projects, these projects clearly cannot represent all conditions or factors related to ICZM in Europe. The demonstration pro-

DGs XI (Environment), XIV (Fisheries) and XVI (Regional

gramme is therefore also actively collecting inforrnation, im-

Policy and Cohesion), is intended to identify and diffuse infor-

pressions and opinions from the much broader set of people with experience and knowledge in ICZM.

mation about the factors and variables which determine the success (or not) of ICZM initiatives. The programme is centered around a set of some 30 demonstration projects funded by a variety of Community instruments inc1uding LIFE, TERRA and PHARE. Located in a variety of physical, cultural and economic settings, each of these projects is taking an innovation approach to some aspect of ICZM. The successes and failures of these projects will serve to illustrate the conditions necessary to implement

The practical cases and perspectives discussed in this publication illustrate the particular problems and challenges posed by the artificial wetlands in the countries of the E.U. and our near neighbors. As such, they provide valuable insight into the mechanisms of ICZM in such areas; this publication is thus very pertinent to the work of the demonstration programme and will forrn a valuable contribution to our efforts.

sustainable, integrated management of the coastal zones. To assist the Commission in extracting the most important lessons from these projects, a series of six horizontal analyses are being launched. Each of these analyses will examine the demonstration projects from a particular thematic angle:



European Commission DG XI-D-2


International Scientific Council for Island Development

Having mastered the many nations and peoples living in the North African countries, the Islam conquerors reached the

with speculation were contributing factors to start a devastating metamorphosis blended with petro-chemical factories,

extreme west, the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. There their chief the valiant Oqba Ben Nafe entered into the Ocean's

tales of Ogres, never give up to devour what was created

waves on his white horse and raising his sword against the sun set, stated with a clear voice that there where the mari time immensity started the conquest asked by the prophet achieves its ends. To a rider of the steppes there started an impassable

urbanisation, tourist compounds and airports which like the once, patiently respecting nature. Are we facing an irreversible trend, a sort of inescapable fatality? Should we hence forth accept that ugliness and new

limit, the beginning of nothing.

unpleasant human artefacts bring to an end man made environments, none the less recognised for their exceptional

For other people this strange territory between sea and earth, there where soil, water and sky seem to merge itself in a

cultural aesthetic and natural values? On the other hand we may also question ourselves about

sudden taking wing of pink flamingos was on the contrary a god blessed place insuring for people food and protection from enemies - in other words, life.

the need and above all the possibility to protect them through all sorts of constraining legislative measures knowing that if

Through millennia mankind tried hard to adapt to its needs these elusive landscapes shaped by the tireless interplay of river floods and tides .. Venice built up its power starting from the urbanised islets of its lagoons while insuring itself of the wealth of fertile land obtained by drying out with skilled hydraulic works its hinterland swamps. The mastery of the deltas of the Nile river, the Po, the Rhine or the Rhone are all well known remarkable examples. For a very long time the geometric arrangements set up by man in these humid areas reflected the changing colours of

the need arises there is after all always a way to elude such measures. We know for instance, that the peculiar landscape of salt works is the result of considerable investment in terms of labour and thus in economic terms, who is ready to pay for their up keeping and the maintenance

of their fascinating

geometry? We may perhaps search for technological

innovation or

market opportunities which while providing economic retums may also insure an acceptable social justification for the conservation of these artificial humid zones including their

fertile land, rice fields, fisheries and salt ponds. The latter at

rich biodiversity. The problematic imbedded in the above questions together

the origin of white gold, salt issued from the subtle alchemy where the four traditional elements : fire from the sun, the air

with the need to find urgent solutions are at the origin of a concerted action initiated by INSULA together with UNESCO

from the winds, the water of the sea and the earth's soil are called upon by a perfect while modest master, the salt-man.

and supported by DGXI of the European Commission under the title ÂŤ Artificial Wetlands, Threatened Coastal Areas in

Nature itself recognises the perfection of such spaces offering them a peculiar and intensive biological wealth which

the Mediterranean and Temperate Atlantic Coast Âť

adds to their indisputable aesthetic values. Just as if the ancient know how of the laborious craft men at their origin deserved

The first step was an intemational meeting held in UNESCO on. 19th and 20th June 1997, bringing together some fifty

a premium because they preserved them for our rejoicing.

Planners, Managers, Representatives

Nowadays all these has changed, all that is changing. The brutal economic game, the requirements of a development

and non govemmental agencies, experts and Scientists in order to debate and take stock of the best available practices and

brought forward without a thinking over, or a delay, together

experiences conceming the issues at stake.

of inter govemmental

The second step is the present volume which aims at offering to decision makers and concerned citizens not only a scientifically up dated and correct view of the multifaceted realities shaping the present of {he threatened artificial wetlands along OUT coasts but also provide a tool for reflection and for future action

The third step is in the hands of all those public and private actors ready to share with us hope for a sustainable world where mankind's creativity can safely coexist with nature's admirable wealth. PIFR GIOVANNI D' A YAlA

Secretary General - INSULA

Waterfowl al dawn in a valle ofthe upper Adriatic

By courtesy of: Giampaolo RALLO












"Wise men used to say that white salt should be kept for black days" Predrag Matvejevic. Mediteranski Brevijar.

New prospects for the future. living museums displaying an exceptional cultural heritage or

A large percentage of the Mediterranean coast is, or has been occupied by what could be called sea harvesting on

spectacular man-made landscapes of great beauty. They are areas that house many heritage dimensions on a single SUf-

land. These are activities with a long tradition in the Mediterranean culture like the salinas, extensive fish/shellfish farm-

face. They are truly exceptional and fragile cases that must be conserved. If we visited all these places, we could see that many of them are on the Ramsar list, classified as SPA's or they have

ing or the old rice fields that were created in coastal deltas and marshes. Curiously, for many regions of the Mediterranean, these artificial workings are the only wetlands that have survived in

been declared protected nature areas in one of the different national categories. They are areas that contribute to main-

their immediate surroundings. These coastal workings often constitute extremely rare sites that are typically storehouses

taining biodiversity and generally play an important role complementing other natural areas.

of many different values, be they valuable natural habitats,


true that the outlook for these sights used to be bleak and there was a clear trend toward gradually abandoning them. Nonetheless, a tour of the Mediterranean coast in the compan y of the collaborators of this project, is enough to see how some of these problems have been successfully addressed and how the main problems have been identified. AII these cases were discussed in a seminar held June-1997 at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The general conclusions of the seminar are included in this volume.

Salines de GuĂŠrande. Aerial view.

Photo: Hjalmar DAHM

THESALTGARDENS Harassment from industry and urbanisation, the collapse of

The Mediterranean salinas constitute one of the most interesting and spectacular cultural landscapes that man has been

the economies that supported their production and recent technological changes have placed a large proportion of this heritage on the brink of extinction. Unlike other, less man-made

able to create on the edge of the sea. More than one thousand years of tradition have produced areas of extraordinary natu-

natural spaces, these habitats very often depend on the survival of the activities of man that created them in the first

ral and cultural value. The excellence of the salt pans and tbe respect they show

place. The decline of these activities, and in consequence a decline in maintenance, sooner or later, wi1l1ead to the disap-

for the natural environment is on a par with the importance of

pearance of these watery landscapes.

the economic and social role tbe salt industry played in the past. Salt is something tbat has always formed part of tbe

Conserving this cornmon heritage, therefore, requires extra efforts devoted to reaching agreement and to achieving dif-

foundations of the development of our civilisations, determining the politics and the prosperity of wbole areas which, per-

ferent visions of these areas in comparison with other natural areas. Overcoming the barriers that currently exist implies

haps, explains why the salt pans still survive. The evaporation salt pan s located in the Mediterranean

updating planning and management instruments and what is

area, both the working and the abandoned ones, cover an area of coastline of nearly 100,000 ha. This, in itself, shows the

even more important is to revitalise the economies and products that maintain these spaces and seek altemative solutions that are compatible with their conservation.

territorial importance of these habitats, which is even more accentuated if we remember that this area is divided among more than 100 large scattered enclaves in which, up until

Altematives are needed to meet the enormous diversity of situations that one can find amongst these sites. The main instruments to be developed would concentrate on improving

recently, were home to more than 4000 groups or individual historical saltworks. Many of the surviving salt pan s are genuine examples of wetlands that no longer exist. These artificial wetlands are

information, enhancing the awareness of those in charge, fine tuning the instruments that will increase the value of traditional production and a search for complementary products and economies such as new systems of production or ecotourism initiatives.

bighly fragile systems, equipped with an aquatic arcbitecture that adapts to and copies perfectly the different conditions of tbe coastline: marsbes, coastal lagoons and even rocky coasts.

This article illustrates a broad range of situations and cases,

In fact, most of the traditional salt pans exhibit a range of technical solutions and models of integrated management that

in which solutions, problems and conflicts are addressed. It is


could easily be extrapolated to other situations. The historie, cultural and economic importance of the salt industry over the centuries has made it possible for many of these sites to resist the recent processes of indiscriminate ribbon development of the coastline. In many cases, the productive nature and the socio-cultural importance of the salt pans, despite their decadence and the lack of protective or zoning mea sures, was given priority over the massive construction of tourist and residential constructions that took place between the 60's and the 80's. There are some truly curious and exemplary cases to be seen in Aveiro, in Cadiz, in Santa Pola, in Ibiza-Formentera, in Bas Languedoc, in Corsica, in

Artificial wetlands: habitats with an exceptional biologic value.

Sardinia, in Sicily and in some of the Greek islands. The urgent need for protection and maintenance of these


Conserving heritage works. Sustainable development-related measures * Fostering new, complementary and/or compatible economic activities that will guarantee conservation of the wetlands.

living landscapes has concentrated the atlention of the scientific community and environmental and cultural heritage authorities in recent years. But the effort made by salt workers

This has been the case of some restructuring initiatives that

themselves, the real caretakers and creators of these habitats, also deserves a mention.

have respected the salt pan areas in sea-harvesting grounds, or the introduction of algae production, as can be seen in the case of Formentera.

* Tourism is also a powerful ally of salt pan conservation.

Obstacles, priorities and alternatives. Addressing the recovery and conservation of the salt pans

Experiences like those of GuĂŠrande or Piran have shown the

of interest along the coasts of Europe requires us to establish priorities according to the risk that exists. Some measures

additional potential of balancing income and eaming enough to fund conservation. Another point that must be borne in mind is that eco-tourist activities become an essential vehicle for

cover environmental, or infrastructure aspects, others deal with overcoming regulation-type obstacles and a large pro-

raising public awareness. In this sense, the strategy based on the Salt Route in the Mediterranean could act as a vital cata-

portion of them deal with the need to enhance the value of these surroundings through information and awareness actions.

lyst for the initiative. In working salt pans, apart from the above-mentioned consid-

The greatest risk that currently exists concems the salt pans abandoned over the last decade or those that are currently being abandoned, a situation that affects more than 25,000 ha.

erations, priority would be given to: * Establishing criteria for environmental improvement and environmentally friendly management, as has been done in

in the Mediterranean region. The fundamental task of man-


aging these areas should focus on: Maintenance measures * Maintaining minimum water levels in pools and ponds to avoid drying out, which, in some cases, would imply the irreversible loss of the salt pans.


Maintaining and conserving passive catchment and accumulation systems, with low-cost, stand-alone pumping systems (e.g. wind pumps). * Conserving the irrigation and distribution network, along with the functional elements that keep flood gates and distributors in order. This work is, perhaps, more complex in marsh-type salt pans, where the network of channels, cuts, Salinas no Estuario do Sado. South of Lisbon.

pools and ponds are fed by the action of the tide.


Photo: Renato NEVES


Promoting a unified management of the salt pan environment, through jurisdictional agreement and co-ordination between the salt industry, landowners and the competent authorities.

* In

the case of protected areas, protection and management plans would have to give specific form to the essential role that salt workers playas reasonable parameters.

the fundamenta) managers within


Resolving some jurisdictional and legal anomalies in the areas of public doma in of the coast, reinforcing the role of producers and economic agents in these areas as guarantors of environmental protection.

Santa Pala Salinas in the 70's.


Creating training initiatives aimed at recovering traditional trades.


Incorporating support measures in the sea salt industry

Rice fields, gene rally set in former wetlands, cover more than one million hectares in the Mediterranean region. Coastal

Recognising the active role that many saltworks play in conserving the environment should be translated into incen-

areas account for a sizeable percentage of this area. Some of the positive aspects of the submerged rice fields

tives for the salt production that make conservation possible in these wetlands.

include the conversion of nutrients, maintenance of the level of the water table in some areas, the role they playas sites for

The most striking actions would include consolidating a Mediterranean sea salt label. This could be done by develop-

natural decontamination (as biological filters) and the reduction of salinity in higher placed crops. The presence of the rice fields helps to improve certain areas through accelerated

ing local brands, based on the belter quality of their ecological product, This is an aspect that could be extremely beneficial for small, cottage industry salinas, although it does imply per-

salinisation processes. The changes in the water cycle that is imposed on traditional rice fields, compared with adjacent natural wetlands, modify the cycle of flooding and, in certain

fecting quality control systems.

situations, can contribute to an enriching diversification of habitats. Converting natural spaces into rice fields Fiume

can be considered as one of the least negative transformations of wetlands that have been affected by man for a long time. Even


from the point of view of the bird life, growing rice means creating a mosaic of flooded environments that make ideal habitats for numerous aquatic birds. Nonetheless, the indiscriminate use of certain chemicals and radical hydraulic transformation projects in the 60s and 70s have helped to create an image for the rice fields of an aggressive attitude toward nature. Public opinion and the scientific community have reactedstrongly against these practises which have led to birds being poisoned, the eutrofication of adjacent lagoons A map of"valle da pesca". Venezia (Bulla, 1940).



Giampaolo RALLO

and wetlands and the effects they have had on the water table. All these negative as-

resources of the coastal wetlands, particularly from coastal lagoons: fish fry (eels, grey mullet), shell fishing, hunting marsh and sea birds, etc. The range of sea harvesting covers a broad variety of situations and natural and artificial habitats: intertidal or inland lagoons, salt pans, marshes or estuaries, where the special ecological conditions make for high productivity. The most interesting operations in our context are the extensive and semi-extensive systems, along with some mixed practises that use pre-existing artificial wetlands as salt pans. With simple devices like fences and traps, or more complex arrangements, such as the conversion of the Languedoc salt The old salt pans ofBa単aderos.

Project J.M. Aceytuno.

pans, the oyster farms of the French Atlantic coast or the valli

Photo: Alberto LUENGO

of the plains of the lower Po, man-made landscapes of great environmental importance have often been created along the coast.

pects of the rice fields of the sixties and seventies have absolutely nothing to do with the role traditional rice fields have played as wetlands of exceptional interest. This negative image has undergone

an improvement

The value of the lagoons and marshes as sea harvesting grounds was based, up until recently, on a passive exploitation


recent years, since it has been shown that in areas where growing techniques and water management have changed,

of natural resources, fundamentally extensive in nature. Very often , these traditional activities were mixed and complementary, like fishing in the creeks of the great salt pans of the

the negative effects seen up to twenty years ago have disappeared, especially after old weed killers are replaced. Even

Bay of Cadiz. Nowadays, however, major changes in hydraulic structures are leading to the creation of fish- farms of

for the bird life, many modem rice fields complement other natural wetlands as feeding grounds.

several hundred hectares which are more man-rnade than natural: water supplied by pumping, introduction of fry bred in

Risk factors for a compatible maintenance of the rice fields inc1ude problems of water availability, due to inadequate man-

a nursery, imported feed like the granulated compounds of fish and soya meal. A lack of environmentally friendly designs for these facilities has undesirable effects on the habitat.

agement of endogenous and exogenous resources and the processes of pollution that affect water quality. Despite major progress in the ecological improvement of

The problems to be faced inc1ude:

rice fields as wetland complexes, emphasis must be placed on the lack of dissemination and incentives for good practises

* The proliferation of green algae due to the mass conversion of old salt pans in pools for intensive aquaculture. One well-

among farmers and businessmen. Even with the regulations laid down by the E.U.

documented case study is the island of Noirmoutier on the Atlantic coast of France.


ceeds authorised limits. This is something that is often found

* Aquaculture,

The existence of areas of production in which waste ex-

in its many different forms, has a long and

ancient tradition throughout the Mediterranean, especially the activities that have traditionally been carried out in coastal lagoons and marshes. These meeting points between land and sea house a surprising diversity of habitats, along with one of the highest levels of productivity on earth, although, unfortunately, they are among the most threatened areas of the European coast. Traditional Mediterranean

aquaculture has been regularly

practised in about a hundred different marshes and lagoons along the coast, and it is one the best indicators of the state of health of the living communities of these environments. Traditionally, man has been able to benefit from the biological

Example of"lavoriero". Valle Averto in the Veniee Lagoon.




in some shellfish pools, in which capacity has obviously been

* As


and wetlands that facilitates, restores or conserves the "nursery" function of marshes and coastal lagoons, increasing the

* An excessive development of areas devoted to oyster production, at the expense of natural oyster beds.

bio-mass of adult specimens which are useful to man and natural predators, with specific repercussions on the bird life.


The introduction or proliferation of undesirable species (predators, competitors), parasites and pathogenic agents. * The over-exploitation of und茅rground water resources.

* The

an activity that fosters exchanges between the open sea

* As

a factor for monitoring water quality. Aquaculture re-

quires top quality water as a support for the harvest and breeding of the species concerned. The fish-farmers become the

development of heavy, unsuitable infrastructure in in-

true guardians of the biological health of these areas.

tensive sea harvesting farms. Despite these recent mistakes, one has to defend the pro-


Also as experienced guards, fish-farmers monitor water plans, they regularly measure the physical and chemical properties of the water and participate in the design of mainte-

tective effect of sea harvesting in coastal wetlands. This can basically be seen in the function these activities fulfil as fac-

nance systems. They could easily become a major force for environmental control.

tors that revitalise and monitor biotopes:


As a form of increasing the value of wetlands, which obstructs the development of far more environmentally harmful and irreversible projects.

Finally, mention must be made of the fact that some traditional sea-harvesting grounds constitute cultural landscapes


of extraordinary value. Among the enormous diversity that

As an economic restoration instrument, re-flooding areas that are abandoned and which could be earmarked for urban or industrial development.

exists along the Mediterranean coast, we could highlight the landscape of the oyster pool s on the banks of the Seudre, the

* As

spectacular shellfish farms of Galicia and the well-known Italian valli.

an activity that maintains the basic functional elements: dykes, circulation channels, defences and golas that help to maintain flooded areas. Furthermore, hydraulic engineering developed by some forms of sea harvesting businesses provides a highly appreciable functional foundation for restoring



other wetlands.

The observations on aquaculture are based on proposals ofMr Daniel Aubin

Ponds ofValle Grassab贸 in the Venice Lagoon (1982).

Photo: Giampaolo RALLO


the bottom of the saltpans. Besides, salt crystallises on the bot-


tom, forming the "salt-crust", otherwise known as "grey-salt". This is how salt has been produced in the European solar saltworks since the antiquity, using either sea-water (e.g., on the Mediterranean or Atlantic coasts) or brine from salt-springs (e.g., in the Iberian inland). Certainly, before real saltworks have been developed and used to produce salt, salt had been worked in a more primitive way, such as the primitive saltems


and the salt -gardens. In areas not endowed with the gift of sun and solar energy, salt was produced by ebullition ofbrine, either ofthe sea (e.g.,


England, north coast ofFrance), or of inland salt-springs (central Europe, especially Germany). Finally, in areas endowed with mineral salt, salt was produced by mining, either in the form of rock-salt (i.e., pure salt) or that salt-rock which was

INTRODUCTION Salt has been for centuries considered as the "white gold" for the European History, beca use it triggered and promoted trade

mainly used for brining (e.g., Poland, Transylvania, Austria).

and wealth. Who possessed it, i.e., persons, families, sovereigns, countries, etc., created also the History in theirtime. This is why, some centuries ago, Europeans, as other peoples also did in other parts of the world, struggled to obtain salt or to augment their salt production. As the centuries went by, many things change over the salt. Especially as to its importance for life. Salt has stopped to be as necessary as it used to be in food conservation. In the meantime, it had been almost totally replaced by modem technological inventions such as refrigerators. However, despite of the


fact that the golden age of salt has definitely passed, salt still keeps serving our civilisation, challeng-

Ful!y mechanised sal! harvest at the saltworks ofMessolonghi,


Photo: Theodora PETANIDOU

Prerequisites for operation, geography and distribution of saItworks

ing in several ways our concem, perception and ways ofthinking. Herewith, I will remind us some of them.

What in fact determines the overall presence and distribution of saltworks is climate, especially its following three aspects:


water balance (which is equal to the difference between precipitation and evaporation levels), relative air humidity and wind.

General techniques The natural phenomenon of salt formation from salty water

High negative water balance, low humidity and steady winds during the salt production period, are ideal for the viability of

has been described briefly, yet precisely, by Strabo (67 B.C.-23 A.D.): "the salt forrning on the surface crystallises". This process

saltworks. Climatic conditions need to be combined with huge, relatively flat areas at a stable altitude above sea level, where

takes place either when salt occurs naturally, or when it is artifi-

soil is oflow permeability as far as brines are concemed. These

cially obtained. Until today, in GuĂŠrande, in Brittany, salt-workers skim the j/eur de sel on a daily basis, before it precipitates at

areas can be coastal or inland, depending on the availability of brine. There were many such littoral areas in the past, when sea


level was much lower than it is nowadays. This still applies to flat estuaries of rivers such as the Nile, the Rh贸ne and the Euphrates, where the installation of new saltworks has been proven extremely awkward. In climatologically favoured regions, with high temperatures and low precipitation during the salt production period, salt crystallises by simple evaporation of the water. In Europe, this can take place on the part of the Atlantic coast south of the 48th parallel, in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, as well as some dry and warm inland areas endowed with saline springs, like in Spain. With the exception ofthis last country, practically all solar saltworks are situated on the coast and use sea-water.

Salicomia europaea at the Messolonghi saltworks.

As already mentioned, the salt content of European seas varies dramatically. Unfavourable climatic conditions combined with

Photo: Theodora PETANIDOU

was King Ancus Martius who first created salt-fields in Ostia, in 641 B.C. As a matter of fact, the town was founded on the south river bank, at the same time as the saltworks. Etruscan

1.0% of salt content make the Baltic Sea an unsuitable place for salt production. Yet, the same percentage, assisted by better weather, favours such activities by the estuary of the river Volga. The same applies to the Black Sea and the northem Adriatic

saltworks already existed on the northem side, but eventually fell in the hands of Romans. Thus, the number of saltworks

with approximately 1.8% of salt content. Evidently, the Atlantic coast and the rest ofthe Mediterranean with higher salt levels (over 3.3%) are the most privileged regions.

under Roman domination (Salinae Romanae) increased. Nevertheless, it is not known how Romans had been working these salt-gardens, in other words, what their salt production meth-

In the broader European continent solar saltworks operated, and in many cases still do, only where the climate has allowed it. Altogether, such regions can be divided into four geographi-

ods were in the ensuing 1,000 years. Besides, there is a total lack of archaeological evidence to enlighten us on this matter. On the other hand, Phoenicians, who, together with the Greeks

cal zones:

dominated the entire Mediterranean basin, from east to west, exploited numerous saltems, scattered all over the region, such

the Atlantic coast, south of Brittany the Mediterranean and the Black Sea coasts (the fact that

as those of Trapani (Sicily), as well as those of Ibiza (Spain). And it was them who performed the first in History long-distance trade of salt.

there are no saltworks on the eastem and southem coasts of the Black Sea is due to their unsuitable relief) the inland regions of the Iberian peninsula south-eastern Russia.

The first references about salt are to be traced in the texts of the Greek scholars. I will mention only few of them: Homer, the first and greatest of poets, called it divine, thus anticipating

The history of salt-making in the Mediterranean

through sheer poetic intuition salt's brilliant role in human His-

Since antiquity, working the solar saltworks had been regarded as an agricultural activity, even from a legal point of

tory. Herodotus, the father of History, was the first to have vis-

view. Respecting this agricultural dimension of salt production, Romans named the first saltworks salt-gardens. Even nowadays, salt-cultivation means maintaining saltworks in use. lt is highly unlikely, however, that ancient Greeks were aware of these notions, as natural sea-salt was enough to cover their needs. There is no doubt that ancient salt was sea-salt. This does not only apply to classical Greece, even that of the Protocycladic period (ea. 5,000 years ago), where salt occurred naturally, but also ancient Rome. The main sources of salt during the Republic or even during the Imperial era were the artificial saltworks by the estuary of the river Tiber. According to Titus Livius, it

After the sal! harvest, at the Messolonghi saltworks.



Photo: Theodora PETANIDOU

the Romans already constituted a technical progress. In fact, the first description of relatively advanced saltworks dates from the 5th century A.D. And it is only since the 5th or 6th century that real artificial systems for salt crystallisation have come into existence and, at the same time, salt has been harvested almost everywhere with the help of special tools. Soon after, also in the Early Middle Ages, the method of the successive evaporation basins was introduced, long before the Wh century. This method, still in use today, is distinguished in that of periodical (intermittent) crystallisation and that of continuous crystallisation. Fully mechanised salt harvest at the saltworks Kitros, Greece.

Photo: Theodora


ited and written about many areas of the Mediterranean and near-Mediterranean region, already in the 5th century B.C. His works take us on a systematic guided tour of the historical map of his world, inc\uding some vital information about the geography and genesis of salt. Five centuries later, Strabo shared his ideas re-describing and amplifying the salt-making world of the Mediterranean. Then, Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, who has influenced more than any other what is called "westem" or "European" thinking, not only he described the different methods of salt-making in the world that was known to him in a very systematic way, but he also developed some important theories on the origin and the essence of salt.

The Panaghia Phinikiotissa, one ofthe cultural attractions associated with the saltworks of Messolonghi. Photo: Theodora PETANtDOU

His theories survived and were supported throughout many centuries, up to the l S". In the antiquity, the first installations used for salt production


were ofthe single-pond type (saltems vs saltworks), producing a rather bitter salt (i.e., a mixture of common salt and other

Salt and nature There is evidence that salt has been the cause of ecological

salts) as it can be deduced from the descriptions of Pliny, the most important salt writer in Roman times. Certainly the saltems

catastrophes many times in human history. Not only because salt itself is a corrosive material or a polluting agent mainly

used by the ancient Greeks, the "halai" were the most primitive

through its products, but mainly beca use of the environmental repercussions from salt-making throughout the centuries. The

ones that they might ever existed. The artificial salt -gardens of

corrosive effects of salt have been first mentioned by Pausanias when referring to the ruins ofthe ancient Achaian town ofEliki, while today they are largely related to the thawing on road SUffaces in wintertime. Besides, central and northem Europe experienced acute environmental repercussions mainly related to the problem of energy and fuel used in ebullition salines which led, on the one hand, to deforestation of huge areas of northem Europe, the effects ofwhich have been mostly irreversible (e.g., deforestation of the Leso island in Denmark, as well as the areas around L端neburg in Germany), and on the other hand to the flooding of extended coastal zones in the Low Countries At the saltworks of Kitros, Greece.

Photo: Theodora

due to coastal erosion caused by peat extraction.



Description of the saltworks ecosystem

The transformation of wetlands into saltworks constituted an-

AII flooded spaces in saltworks, with the evaporation ba-

other type of ecological regression. Here, the establishment of saltworks into a wetland area had, as a first step, dramatic effects on the existing natural communities. It should be born in mind

sins in the lead, swarm throughout the year and even more so from autumn to spring. Saltworks are significant living spaces for a great number of particular forms of life rang-

that the creation of solar saltworks presupposes vast coastal expanses of flat land. Given its particular relief, the Mediterranean

ing from tiny species to very big ones including plants, crustaceans, molluscs, fish and birds. All this life is important for

has very few such littoral areas suitable for salt-making activities. What is more, man was soon to lay his hands on these wetlands,

the humans and their needs but still more significant in terms

chose to reclaim them and turned them into production sites. This is how salt-gardens carne into existence, along with rice-fields and fish-farms. Reducing the biodiversity of the ecosystems in-

of natural heritage. Since such a fragile and sensitive equilibrium is to be maintained, there is a complex set of reasons which makes saltworks so important with regard to nature conservation.

volved was one of the immediate results of such a drastic transformation. The formation of salterns, the increasing salinity of

Both the beauty and the uniqueness of saltworks have been associated with their birdlife which has been given special at-

the waters flooding these areas, as well as salt itself drove away many of their flying and aquatic residents. Some of them never

tention in recent years. However, the living charm of saltworks does not only have to do with their flying residents. A fairly

carne back, the numbers of others decreased dramatically and others did not dare retum for a very long time. However, the eco-

.long and amazingly idiosyncratic biological chain unfolds towards these upper consumers, starting from the minuscule forms

logical status quo of the saltworks gradually changed, after having undergone a pracess of internal restructuring and the newly

of photosynthesising life. This is because saltworks epitomise all types of known wetlands since the whole spectrum of envi-

established communities reached a standstill: the newly created sites with their particular characteristics led to the colonisation

ranmental conditions coexist here, from the harshest to the mildest. On the one hand, shallow water is the key to high primary

and emergence of different species which praliferated and attracted other organisms too. Thus, a new semi-artificial ecosystem, the

productivity which in the end reflects the diversity ofthe consumer species living in or close to this ecosystem. On the other

ecosystem o/ the saltworks, was born in the place of natural wetlands. It must be stressed that this is an ecosystem of very

hand, high salinity excludes all forms of life apart from very

distinct biological characteristics, which is unique in its kind.

few exceptions.

The saltworks of San Pedro del Pinatar (Murcia, Spain).

Photo: Theodora PETANIDOU



Rich biodiversity and high productivity are two known prop-

salinities. The small toothcarps, of the Aphanius genus, are native to the Mediterranean saltworks (the A.fasciatus in the east-

erties peculiar to aquatic ecosystems. Shallow hypersaline lakes and highly saline meadows form some of the harshest habitats among the various types of wetlands. Very few organisms can stand the inhospitable environments of these saline deserts.

em Mediterranean and the A. ibericus in the Iberian peninsula). Finally, in the Atlantie salt-marshes, the reservoirs oflow salin-


ity hold several species of economieally important fish eatehes, sueh as eel (Anguilla anguilla), mullet (Mugil spp.)

populations, due to the lack of predators. This is the case of the small crustacean Artemia, found in incredibly high numbers in

There is no doubt that the ecological significance of saltworks is mainly related to their omithologieal value. This is not only

the saltpans. Thus, saline habitats provide the consumers with ideal conditions for feeding by filtration -one of the very few types of prey that is uniform and available in

because there, numerous aquatie birds feed exclusively by filtration, i.e., on Artemia. Another important factor is that, since a ban

However, those that survive, grow into extremely

huge numbers. This particular aspect of the saltworks ecosystems attracted, amongst other species, the flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber). Both aquatic and terrestrial producers are found in all saltworks depending on the extent of human intervention, in the inland environment in particular.



photosynthesising algae are examples of aquatic producers, whereas the terrestrial ones constitute mainly the halophytic flora of the saltworks. As far as the former are eoncemed, the different compartments of the saltworks are not totally isolated, henee allowing the circulation and exchange of organisms. At the same time, these compartments are relatively autonomous, forming

unique ecosystems,

The saltworks ofSanta Pola, near Alicante (Spain).

Photo: Theodora PETANIDOU


physieo-chemieal characteristies peculiar to them. Producers and primary productivity are found in all basins ofthe saltworks,

on hunting has been effectively implemented in saltworks, birds prefer to frequent them, rather than the surrounding wetlands. For this reason, all saltworks in Mediterranean Europe, from the

with the exception of the crystallisers. However, the level of primary production varies dramatically, depending on the time and site. The terrestrial producers can be halophytes or other

westemmost Spanish and Portuguese ones to the eastemmost Greek ones, are frequented by a number of birds feeding (by fil-

plant species. Halophytes are typical of saline expanses and have adapted to the harsh environment of the saltworks. Some

tration) exclusively or occasionally on Artemia. Moreover, saltworks are vital for birds nesting systematically here and, above

of them like the Salicornia europaea, are found almost throughout Europe. Others, such as the Halimione portulacoides,

all, for the great number of species using them as a temporary sanctuary, or as a shelter in winter and a breeding site in summer.

Salicornia spp., Arthrocnemum spp., Atriplex spp. and Limonium spp., are abundant in the whole Mediterranean up to the Atlan-

As feeding plaees, saltworks are preferred by species sueh as the Flamingo, Avoeet (Recurvirostra avosetta), Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus),

tic. Salinity plays a decisive role in the diversity of consumers at all trophic levels of the aquatic environment. For instance, numerous plankton organisms disappear with the gradual increase

Little Stint (Calidris minuta), Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) and Dunlins (Calidris alpina ). As nesting places, they

in salinity and are replaced by some aquatic insects of all mor-

attract Avocets, Gull-billed Tems (Gelochelidonnilotica), Common Tems (Sterna hirundo), Little Tems (Sterna albifrons), Kent-

phologieal stages, as well as small worms. Saltpans are populated by small crustaceans and arthropods originating from less

ish Plovers and Black-winged Stilts iHimantopus himantopus), the latter breeeding mainly in the Iberian peninsula. Besides, the

saline ponds. Most European saltworks are dominated by Artemia which is extremely prolific and survives in high

flamingos wandering around the Mediterranean are almost exclusively accommodated in the areas of saltworks where they


breed. This is mainly the case in Camargue, and the lagoonssaltworks of Cagliari. Increasing numbers of this bird species are reported in the Spanish and Greek sites, whereas sporadic cases ofbreeding flamingos have been reported in the Spanish saltworks of Cabo de Gata and Santa Pola. lt is useful to refer to some numbers conceming the birds

that use saltworks in various ways. In Messolonghi, the best studied Greek saltworks from a biological point of view, 71


species were observed in 1991. Twenty-five ofthem were characterised as threatened with extinction, or probably threatened

-- --

on a European level and 20 were under protection by Greek, European or intemational conventions. In the Greek saltworks



' •••••









-7 __

~'" .'.

- ~~;


Abandoned soltworks near Bouin, western France.


---.;;t¡'" ~


Photo: Theodora PETANIDOU

of Kitros, 188 bird species were observed, 29 of which qualified for protection on a nationallevel and 7 intemationally. The respective numbers for the Spanish saltworks of Cabo de Gata

saltworks are considered as a category of lagoons constituting priority habitats for which immediate steps of protection must

in Almeria for the period between 1980 and 1983 were 97 species and 112 for the La Mata saltworks, 65% of which were

be taken. One increasingly witnesses in this sense a reversal of the phenomenon that has been described earlier, since saltworks

protected. Finally, 198 species were observed in the greater area of the Mallorca saltworks in Albufera de Mallorca. Saltworks are also fields of death where decomposition is an

gradually tum from production sites into natural history "museums". The historie La Mata saltworks are a good example here and the same goes for the nearby Santa Pola ones which partially function as an autonomous nature reserve. Neverthe-

ongoing process. Due to its preservative qualities, salt is on this point an invincible enemy and this explains why the rates of

less, other highly productive saltworks also contribute to conservation because oftheir specific qualities. Some ofthem, par-

decomposition in a saltworks are inversely proportional to its salinity. Halophilous bacteria and the various types of fungi are

ticularly those characterised as requiring protection, have been

the most common groups of decomposers. One ofthem, namely theHalobacterium, and perhapsDunaliella salina, a chlorophyte

ecologically upgraded for conservation purposes. This is the case in Messolonghi and Camargue (Etang du Fangassier), where upgrading involved the creation of islets serving as nesting ar-

alga, are considered to be the origin ofthe scarlet colouring that saturated brine has before it enters the crystallisers, due to the

eas for the waders and flamingos respectively.

accumulation of carotenoids.

Another example is to be found on the Atlantic coast ofFrance. Although some sectors of the former 50,000 hectares saltworks have been developed for other uses, or drained mainly for agri-

The importance of saltworks as wetlands

cultural purposes, a big part has been the object of conservation attempts in recent years. In fact, such efforts are supported by a

The uniqueness of saltworks consists in the coexistence of

constantly increasing number of people.

wetland characteristics combined with the extreme qualities of hypersaline meadows which fluctuate greatly during the year. This combination permits population growth for the few species that specialise in hostile, extreme environments and leads , by the same token, to the growing diversity of organisms depending on the former for their diet. Saltworks are not mere wetlands. Many Mediterranean saltworks belong to larger wetland zones protected by the international Ramsar Convention and host species protected by other European and intemational agreements on nature conservation like the Directive of the European Council on bird protection and, more recently, that on the conservation of natural habitats of wild fauna and flora. As a matter of fact, with regard to the latter Directive, the ecologically

more significant parts of

Internal solar saltworks at La Malahá, near Granada, Spain.


Photo Theodora PETANIDOU

Cretan town to the Turks in 1707-1708, the place-name "Sonda" has been changed to "Tuzla". The once famous Tragassean saltpan, near the Hamaxitos of Troy (Asia Minor) is still in operation at the mouth of the river Tuzla. Still, in continental Europe, such as in the German city of Halle and the Austrian city of Hallein, a ÂĄ

wealth oftraditional customs has been developed with time, particularly by people who worked in salt production, or the salt business in general. Although production has stopped in most cases, these long-established customs have survived and are regulady practised today. In many cases the ethnology of salt-making is subject of the local museums, nowadays specialised salt-museFlamingos in the saltworks of Kitros, Greece.

ums that have been founded in regions or locations which were

Photo: Theodora PETANIDOU

historically related to salt production. Traditional saltworks in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic

FROM THE CULTURE VIEWPOINT It is not only that salt, as a product itself, by being the object

stand among the most aesthetic human creations intended for production. These sites are the incontestable witnesses of a his-

of everyday need and use, was bound to spark artistic creation, not to mention the gastronomic one. It started, first of all, with

tory of coastal civilisation. This does go further than building saltworks by the use of traditional warm material s on which the glaring whiteness of salt is bom and spread. It also involves the

the articles intended for its presence on the table, i.e., the familiar salt-cellars from the ancient Greek times to Roman and Byzantine periods through the whole European History. Then,

human presence in these spaces, which harmonises the quantity of the product and the quality of the process. This is the passage

salt, by coming into the spheres of symbolism, manners, customs, beliefs and religion, became the servant of logos, sym-

of knowledge and History as such into the product that some devotees of the kind dared realise. Thus, the first traditional

bolising spirit and wit par excellence, the object of oratorical demonstrations; as "Attic salt" it has survived in the cultural vocabulary to signify that which is witty, beautiful and noble.

saltworks have been bom again or restored. From the Canaries to GuĂŠrande, in Atlantic France, and Piran in the north of the

This is why literature and music creation have been also largely influenced by this product.

Adriatic Sea, saltworks are resurrected as witnesses of a past which is so distant and so recent at the same time. From what-

Furthermore, in ethnology, a number of fields are related to salt. Salt-making activities, as well as the presence of salt-springs

ever viewpoint we look at them, saltworks beautify our field of vision in a Mediterranean traumatised by human intervention,

appear in the names of a series of cities, towns and locations. Place-names, like the Roman Satinae, or later on these of Satins,

offer space for nature conservation, support our cultural identity, put salt to our food and our life. At the same time, they

Halle, Alai, Aliki, Tuzla and many others offer reliable proof for the involvement of these places in salt production. In some versions ofthe folk song "Isi Soudas" which describes the fall ofthe

offer job opportunities and conserve some professions that are on the wane or have already become extinct. This is a real challenge for all visionaries of the past, as well as those struggling for sustainable development.


the norm of the rest of the Mediterranean

wetlands, saltworks themselves are threatened ecosystems to a very large extent. This, for obvious reasons, goes hand-inhand with the intensification of the salt production in their expanses, related to full-mechanisation of the production and the subsequent loss of habitats for the hosted species, especially those using the saltworks as a nesting place. Such an example is the transformation of traditional sea-water The saltworks ofPiran, Slovenia.

saltworks with a well defined gradient of salinity into simple huge crystallisers, in order to augment salt production, a proc-

Photo: Theodora PETANIDOU


ess that appears to be very popular nowadays. Another type of saltworks transformation took place in the beginning of


the century in almost all saltworks of the Mediterranean basin: then, by transforming the system of periodical crystallisation and harvest into a continuous one, saltworks became

only as natural habitats, but also as references to our cultural heritage. In order to achieve these aims, it is utterly necessary

The saltworks of today need support and conservation: not

to establish rules so that the saltworks function according to standards set up by national and intemationallaws for the pro-

much more productive than before, but they lest a lot as to their traditional character of opera tiun, including the pres-

tection of natural and cultural heritage. In this respect, public awareness is also important and absolutely necessary.

ence and involvement of man into the salt production process. That was the first step for most of the Mediterranean saltworks towards losing their ethnological value.

As mentioned above, many saltworks have been recognised and function as natural parks. However, there are others that lack this recognition. Yet, there are saltworks that have been abandoned and have lost those biological characteristics that make them interesting as saline ecosystems. This situation is reversible only under the condition that salt cultivation is again re-established to a certain extent. Conserving, as well as upgrading the saltworks from the architectural, ethnological, cultural and landscape viewpoints should become one of the priorities. Such upgrading actions, which have been scarcely identified in the broader Mediterranean, should be further encouraged and supported, as it has been

Abandoned salter's house al the saltworks ofPiran, Slovenia.

Photo: Theodora PETANIDOU

the case in northem Europe. Since common people are to a very large

extent ignorant as far as the importance of saltworks is concemed, public awareness on this matter should

Nowadays, a great number of saltworks, particularly small ones, are being abandoned as a result of intensifying salt pro-

become a priority of the intended conservation. And since in most of the cases any information on the technical, ethnologi-

duction, mainly by mechanisation. These areas are not anymore systematically flooded by water and lose with time

cal, biological etc. importance of saltworks is lacking, the first step is towards filling this lack. Further on, a second step should

those characteristics which make them significant habitats for

be the awareness of people dealing with salt and its production, such as salters, companies, employees and officials. All these

a number of biological species. In other cases, it is the use of saltworks that changes as they are con verted into shell-fish farrning pools. This has happened to a great extent on the

people should leam about the multiple aspects of salt and its genesis. Finally, everybody should realise that nature conser-

Atlantic coast ofFrance, in the areas ofMarennes and OlĂŠron. In Portugal also, a part of more than 60% of the area of the Sado saltworks has been abandoned, or used for shell-fish

vation not only can coexist but also enhance salt production. And the role of the network of salt-museums that have been or

farrning, whereas only 23% of the rest is still operating on a permanent basis.

are on the way to be created in Europe could be, at this point, very crucial. 1 am very optimist for a very fruitful and multi-

It is not, however, primary production in its different forms that constitutes the principal danger for these zones, but the

actioned collaboration between them, through shared projects targeting against any loss of nature or memory.

change in land use caused by tourism. This is not difficult to understand as saltworks occupy flat coastal expanses which can easily betransformed into hotel complexes, airports and the like. And the European cases of such sacrilegious transformations increase with time from the East to the West.



o/ Agriculture,

Aristotle University Thessaloniki GREECE

Salinas distribution & production


Salinas occur in many forms, shapes and sizes, from small coastal pools and rudimentary and aesthetic primitive saltpans on rocky coastlines, to architecturally designed traditional and intensively managed Industrial salinas, in river deltas, estuaries


and coastal lagoon systems. A recent survey of Mediterranean salinas] has revealed the


existence of over 160 salinas of all categories. They have been


divided into two categories; Operational salinas producing salt and Non-Operational/Abandoned salinas. They were also c1as-

With over 2,000 years of history, Salinas have become an integral and characteristic part of the Mediterranean coastline,

sified according to the surface area of each salina, from the

where salt is produced for industrial and domestic purposes.

smallest of2 ha on Malta and Minorca (Balearic Islands), up to the largest European salinas: Saline-de-Giraud (l2,000ha) and

Salinas can best be described by their geographical location. management and the quantity and type of salt that is produced. Inland Salt Mines are widely distributed in Europe. They exploit the natural underground salt deposits and specialise in

Saline d'Aigues-Mortes (11,000 ha) in the south ofFrance. The distribution pattem shows a prevalence of salinas in westem Mediterranean countries and along the northem Mediterranean coastline. The

producing rock salt, vacuum salt and brine. The most original sites are the natural Salt Lakes (sebkhas, chotls & depressions) that contain vast quantities of crystalized salt, in semi-arid regions ofNorth Africa and Turkey. Two examples are the Chott

geographical position of each salina is often related to sites with good evaporation conditions (high summer temperatures, sun and wind) and to the industrial countries of westem Europe, where there is an important demand for salt from the petro-chemical

Djherid in Tunisia, where insignificant amounts of salt are exploited, and Tuz Golu (Salt lake) on the Central Anatolian Plateau in Turkey. The 3 Saltworks on the

industry. Of all the known operational salinas, 75% occur in cen-

shores ofthis lake collectively produce 30% of all the salt produced in Turkey. The most sought after salt is "Sea-salt" or "Solar salt" produced throughout the Mediterranean region in: Primitive Saltpans strategically sited on rocky coastlines and islands in the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean. The Xweini Saltpans on Gozo (Malta) and the Salinas de Ba単aderos, Gran Canaria (Canary Islands) are today still exploited. Artisanal SaItpans are generally found along the southem and eastern Mediterranean with low-Iying sandy shorelines,

and traditional

Artisanal Salinas and Industrial Salinas around the central and north-

An intensively managed Industrial Salina in the Mediterranean.

em Mediterranean coastlines. In northem Mediterranean countries the extreme conditions in winter are unfavourable for pro-

Photo John G. WALMSLEY

ducing salt, but in southem and eastem countries where condi-

tral and northem Mediterranean countries, compared to only 25% in southem and eastem Mediterranean countries with sandy coastlines, and where the demand for industrial salt is less importan!.

tions are relatively stable, salt can be produced throughout the

The numeric importance of salinas per country also reflects this

year. Non-Operational/Abandoned Salinas are the result of modemisation of the salt industry and comprise principally of small and non-profitable Artisanal and Industrial Salinas.

situation. 77% of all salinas are in the major sal! producing countries of Spain, Greece, Italy, France and Portugal. The remaining 23% are distributed between 13 other countries.


being promoted as prime development sites by national and regional authorities and decision makers, who are responsible for urban and industrial development projects. More recently, private enterprise involved in fishfarming and aquaculture, have discovered that abandoned salinas can be transformed into profitable fishfarms at relatively low costs and maintenance. As a result

A mixed breeding colony of gulls and tems breeding on a dyke in an Industrial salina ..

Photo John G. WALMSLEY

many salinas have already disappeared in Portugal and in south-west Spain, where fish-farming activities have

The annual production of salt varies considerably between salinas of different categories and size, also their geographical

expanded dramatically. In the Mediterranean basin fish-farms are now k:nown to be operating in Sicily and Greece. Besides

location within the Mediterranean basin. Different management methods and techniques can strongly influence production rates,

making large profits from the sale of fish, these "terrestrial fishermen" are being subsidised by European Community money.

hence there is a wide range of salinas and considerable differ-

In addition to accelerating the disappearance of salinas, the management and methods employed to dissuade fish-eating

ences between the overall tonnage of salt produced in salinas with similar surface areas. The total annual production of salt

birds and other waterbird species from feeding (barbed wire, nylon lines, disturbance and shooting), is detrimental to the

for all the k:nown salinas in the Mediterranean region is estimated at nearly 7 million tonnes. The most productive coun-

wildlife populations that frequented these sites before they were

tries are France (2 million tonnes), Turkey (1.5 million tonnes)

transformed into fish-farms.

and Italy (approximately 1 million tonnes).

Conservation actions & recornrnendations Developrnent & threats

For many years industrial salinas were considered only as

If we consider the actual number of salinas in the Mediter-

factories producing salt. It is only during the last two to three decades that ecological

ranean and the amount of salt produced each year, the salt industry may appear to be in a healthy state. However, if we

studies were initiated, to understand the biological productivity

look at the number of abandoned salinas in the Mediterranean

and the ecological value ofthese man modified habitats. Salinas are in fact dynamic habitats that support a rich and diverse flora and fauna, such as salt resistant plant species and several rare

(40% of the total), this is an indication that dramatic changes have taken place, especially during the last 50 years. Salt production expanded according to the increasing demand from industry and high market prices. Private enterprise and their

Orchids and invertebrate


The Brine Shrimp

Artemia is an important biological indicator of a rich environment, and a major food source for many waterbird species like the Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber, the Shelduck Tadorna

economic interests then focused on modemising salt production methods and machines, thus creating optimal conditions that would produce a maximum tonnage of salt per annum, in a small number of large and intensively managed industrial salinas. This situation led to the closure of many small and

tadoma, Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta and other rare and en-

non-profitable salinas and is the principal cause for the high number of abandoned salinas. These coastal salinas are now

Important wetlands, Ramsar sites and Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Another example is the Audouin's Gull Larus audouinii,

dangered coastal breeding seabirds and shorebirds. Today, Mediterranean salinas are now being recognised as


a globally threatened and priority species that occurs only in the Mediterranean region. It breeds on small rocky islands and islets

forced to move to less secure and sensitive sites on dykes,

and on coastal salt steppe and low sand dunes. In 1996, a survey revealed that 70% ofbirds in the largest breeding colony of 12,000

where they are subjected to disturbance and destruction by man and machines, and preda-

pairs in the Ebro Delta, Spain, nested in the industrial Salina de Trinitat (D.Oro, pers. com.). Several small colonies also occur in other salinas in Spain and Italy and a small number of salinas are regularly used as roosting sites and refuges throughout the year.

tion by terrestrial animals.

Ifthe species continues to increase and expand its breeding range,

the future of Mediterranean

the colonisation ofhabitats in salinas should be encouraged. This can be achieved by applying practical management techniques

salinas seems uncertain and needs to be reviewed. Salt pro-

proposed in previous publications by Walmsley (1993 & 1994). Wildlife managers should first of all seek the approval and full

duction and conservation are

In the light of the recent changes and existing threats,

compatible, provided that wildlife managers and salt engi-

collaboration of the salt companies before projects of this kind are implemented. Meanwhile, if industrial salinas continue to provide favour-

neers work together. There is an urgent need to establish and

able breeding and feeding habitats for coastal breeding seabirds



__ L- __ ~

,__ .. ~~

__ ~~

The Brine Shrimp Artemia constitutes an important food resource for many waterbird species that breed and frequent Mediterranean salinas. Photo: John G. WALMSLEY

protect an international network ofMediterranean salinas and stop the loss ofthese impor-

and shorebirds, conflicts have arisen between salt production and conservation. Natural breeding islands that forrnerly sup-

tant Mediterranean wetlands. Furtherrnore, with integrated management and implementation of sound conservation actions, it

ported large mixed colonies of coastal breeding seabirds and shorebirds, have been destroyed during the process of creating

is possible to pro vide the right conditions for breeding and feeding waterbirds (artificial breeding islands and control of water

optimal conditions for salt production. Breeding birds have been

Urban and tourist development projects and marina's are typical causes for the decline of Mediterranean salinas.



1 .:~: ~~

Photo: John G. WALMSLEY


levels). A priority list of ecologically important abandoned salinas should also be identified, and every effort made to ac-

WALMSLEY, 10. & DUNCAN P. (1993). Industrial salinas in the Ca-


quire and manage these sites as nature reserves. If we achieve

margue and the conservation

breeding seabird populations. In: Sta-

these population levels. A preliminary inventory of all known Mediterranean salinas

tus and Conservation of Seabirds. Ecogeography and Mediterranean Action Plan. Proceedings of the 2nd. Mediterranean Seabird Syrnposium, Calviรก, Majorca, 21-26 March 1989: 285-293.

has recently been compiled by MEDMARAVIS and the Tour du Valat. The results will be published as part of the Med- Wet

WALMSLEY, 10. (1994). Un approccio pratico alla gestione ambientale nelle saline del Mediterraneo. In: La gestione degli ambienti costieri e

Conservation booklet series. This booklet and others in the series can also be used as a conservation tool, by which we can


del Mediterraneo.

& A.Torre)

(Eds: X. Monbailliu

MEDMARAVIS, Edizioni del Sole, Alghero, Sardinia.

identify priority sites of special scientific interest for future conservation and management.


TIER, B. (in press).

Mediterranean Salinas. Conservation ofMediterranean

Wetlands NO.9,

Tour du Valat, Arles, France.





1994 &. pers. information,


MEDMARAVIS networkers & Tour du Valat correspondents to Med-Wet



Conservation Booklet series: "Mediterranean Salinas" NO.9 (in press.).

A salt mountain or storage depot in an Industrial Salina.

Photo: John G. WALMSLEY



Atlantic salinas produced 220,000 ton s of coarse salt yearly.


Since those times, the production has fallen and many former areas have unfortunately been abandoned or transformed for other activities (aquaculture, constructions, roads ...). Some


salinas are nature-reserves. The main part of the Atlantic salinas were abandoned be-


tween 1840 and 1960, as they could not face the industrialisation ofthe Mediterranean salt-works (Aigues-Mortes, Salins de

The salt-marshes close to the mediaeval town of Guérande

Giraud ...) and the salt-mines in the east of France. The consumption of salt also generally fell during this periodo Today, the annual production in the Guérande area is around

and the popular seaside resort of La Baule, just north of the Loire estuary, form a remarkable site of the European natural

10,000 tons. The salt is still harvested in a manual, traditional

and cultural heritage. For more than 1,000 years, the salters (paludiers, from Latin palus = marsh) have built up this strange

way by some 220 salters. This natural, high quality sea-salt enjoys a high world-wide reputation among gourmets and restau-

landscape of clay and water. The salt-marshes can be consid-

rateurs. Salt production on the Guérande peninsula is far from a dy-

ered as one of the most « ecological » creations ever worked out by the hand ofMan. The great number ofbreeding, resting,

ing activity. Since 1980, a new generation of salters has been trained in a special yearly training course. New young people

migrating and wintering birds is a good evidence for this. Today, these salinas and those, further south, on the islands

come regularly to be trained - even from the other French Atlantic sites - and the average age ofthe salters is now below 40.

ofNoirmoutier and Re, are the last to produce salt on the French Atlantic coast. In the middle of the XIX century, the French

This is the main explanation to the regain of the production of salt and the success in the protection of the area.

Seen from an aeroplane, the Guérande salt-marshes look Iike a colourful patchwork ofblue, green, orange and white.


Photo: H¡almar DAHM

The work in the salinas

The salt-marshes and the surrounding tidal zones (5,000 hec-

The salters have the social status of free farmers. They can

tares in al!) are since September 1995 one ofthe French Ramsar sites (the Convention on wetlands of intemational importance

either own their salina or rent it from one of the 350 landowners. An average area for one person covers 5 to 7 hectares, with an annual production of 90 tons of salt.

especial!y as waterfowl habitat). 500 hectares are characterised as a Special Protected Area (according to the Bird Directive of the European Union). The entire area figures among the future

The salter works the whole year round. The main work is, of

protected sites of the network Natura 2000. Some 2,000 hectares of salt-marshes and mud-flats have recently (1996) ob-

course, done during the harvest in the summer-months (June to September, depending on the climatic conditions). It is impor-

tained a national legal protection.

tant to remember that the salt is harvested every day if the weather al!ows it. In winter, the reservoirs (vasieres) are kept after. During the spring, the salina is cleaned; the silt is raked out and the smal! dikes (ponts) are reinforced. The salinas need a constant maintenance and every 25 years they have to be restored in order to work and to produce in an optimum way. The young salters have taken up al! these activities and can now teach them to the newcomers. When the first rains fal! in autumn and the crystallisation process is stopped the harvested salt is brought from the salinas into the co-operative to be stored.

The harvest of the coarse, slightly grey salt, takes place in summer. The salter walks on the narrow dikes as the clay bottoms are very soft and will not stand his weight. The traditional salt-scrape (las) is the main tool. Ifthe weather is favourable, the harvest is done daily. Photo: Hjalmar DAHM

The salters are formed in an annual training course In the 70's, a new generation of salters carne to the area. They mostly carne from the nearby towns (Saint Nazaire, Nantes), with a strong will to make the salinas live again. Many tourist projects (constructions, roads, marinas, sewage plants, rubbish-dumps ...) threatened the salinas and the old salters were

The salt from Guérande - not only NaCl The salt from Guérande is harvested during the dry summer

not able to fight against this « development ».

months on clay-bottoms. This technique gives the salt a slightly greyish (sel gris) colour. It is sold as a natural, coarse sea-salt, containing a balanced degree of minerals and trace-elements. No chemical additives are al!owed. lt is only screened, as a final step, to offer the best quality required by the consumers. As to answer a growing demand, some of the salt is dried and mil!ed, sometimes added with algae or aromatic herbs. Thanks to numerous, regular and independent controls, the salt from Guérande has obtained several quality « labels » (Label Rouge, Nature & Progres). A co-operation with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has lead to a special packaging based on the aspects of protection of wetlands. The majority of the salters (90%) are members of the cooperative. The co-operative has its own distribution, but can also work together with other companies in order to sel! the salt

After the summer, the salt is brought to the co-operative.

Photo: Hjalmar DAHM

This first generation of very dynamic and enthusiastic « neosalters » managed very well to integrate this rather closed world.

on the national market. Today, the salt from Guérande is present

One of their main aims was to help other young people to come to the area. In 1980 the first training course started, organised

in every.healthfood shop and in most super-markets in France. Some 10% of the coarse salt is sold to other co-operatives (as salt-stones, for the conservation of hay etc.).

by the technical school of Guérande (under the Ministry of Agriculture ).


Today this course is organised by the Chamber of Agriculture. It goes for 12 months and covers theoretical parts (economy

Among the wintering

birds, there are large numbers of

Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, Brent Goose (over 1,000 of the Siberian

of the salt, ecology of the salt-marshes, chemistry, sustainable

sub-species), Avocet (1,200) and other waders and grebes. Of the 72 breeding species the most significant are Little Egret (400 pairs), Grey Heron (200 pairs), Avocet (150 pairs),

tourism, book-keeping, legislation ...) and practical work in the salinas with a « master» (maitre de stage). Between 10 and 15 future salters are trained, some young people also come from other areas on the Atlantic coast. If the student manages the

Black-winged Stilt (100 pairs) Common Tem (180 pairs), Kentish Plover, Bluethroat (white spotted), Marsh Harrier, Shorteared Owl.

exams, he (or she) can obtain financial help from the state and the local govemments.

The plant-Iife is quite characteristic as the roots are in close contact with salty water (halophile plants). The different species of Glassworts (Salicornia) are typical plants found here.

Today only 40% ofthe total area is used for salt-making and the volume of abandoned salinas will allow the arrival of more young people in the near future. A considerable amount of (manual) work has to be done in order to make the old, worn-

The annual Glassworts Salicornia europaea are often picked by the salters and used in cooking.

down salinas come back into production. This training-course is one of the main reasons for the suc-

Tourísm, salters and salinas

cess, not only for the salt of Guérande, but also for the survival and the development of these traditional salinas. Many other

on the Atlantic coast. La p/age ofLa Baule has attracted people

The salt-marshes are very close to some ofthe main beaches

European sites, that have difficulties in making their salinas

since more than 100 years and the development of an extending tourism has - and can still - threaten the salt-marshes, although

live, could use this as an example of positive development in order to create new jobs and preserve a valuable, very sensitive and rare heritage.

a legal protection. Still, the salters realise today that although themselves they are an entire part ofthe Peninsula's life and that the tourists are there too, whether they wish it or not. Therefore, some years ago the salters' co-operative and the French ornithological society (L.P.O.) created, together with other organisations, the Maison du Se/o This « salt-house» is now one of the three « meeting-points» in the salt-marshes. A permanent exhibition has been built up with optional guided walks that attract several thousands of visitors, especially in summer, and groups of school-children in spring. The main subject of the exhibition « Salt and environment» explains the economy of local salt production and the ecology of saltmarshes.

The guided walks in the area are organised by the salters themselves. This gives a high quality guiding and the visitors are pleased to be in contact with a professional salter. Some guided walks are on specific themes: birds, plant-life etc. Photo: Hjalmar DAHM

Keen ornithologists and professional salters act as guides during the walks which take place several times a day. It is a crucial task to regularly inform people - without forgetting to take into consideration also the local population and school-children - about the importance and the sensitivity of

Wild life in the salt-marshes It is well-known that salt-marshes are amongst the most pro-

coastal wetlands and their need of protection. To acquire aware-

ductive ecosystems, forming a large food reserve (algae, shrimps, fish, insects, amphibians, seeds ...). The most signifi-

ness of these man-made ecosystems and to leam more about them, visitors must be able to watch from close quarters - and

cant evidence for this richness is the great variety of birds: over 170 species have been identified in the area of Guérande,

sometimes even touch. But this approach must be done without disturbing the breeding or resting birds and the salters' work.

which is an amazingly interesting site for omithologists.

Visits have therefore to be organised so that these magnificent areas do not suffer from their growing fame. A tourist, a student

Migrating birds from the north ofEurope find in these coastal wetlands an excellent resting-place on their way to the wintering quarters or on the way back north.

or a child that has been guided in a satisfying way, will be a good ambassador for wetlands.


The Guérande salinas: a model for other areas? Many different, but some-how linked reasons have allowed the Guérande salinas to get well-known. In France, thanks to an important marketing of the salt, the product is now known and can be purchased all over the country. The training-course attracts more and more young people from all over the country, and the rejuvenation explains the recent



uptum in the salt production and the sales have doubled in only five years. The salters are deeply involved in some developing projects in West-Africa (Benin, Guinea), which has lead to a

dunes salinas/salt-marshes

dynamisation ofthe profession and has given many ofthe salt-

(\ ..' walls (protectoin , against the tide)

ers a larger view, i.e., on deforestation, over-fishing and other environmental problems in tropical areas. Three museums and visitor-centres have been built up close to the salt-marshes. They work together as to give a coherent view on the history, the social aspects, the economy and the ecology of the salt-marshes (see list at the end o/ the article). The fact that the area today is protected, i.e., by the Ramsar Convention, gives it a fame in the Ministries of Environment and Agriculture, in the European Commission, in UNESCO ... Several national and European environmental and agricultural Atlantic Ocean

programs have been put up in order to make the salters more actively participate in the future of their salinas. Therefore, the salters of Guérande can be considered as pilots for a sustainable development and their work can stimulate a future regain of traditional salinas on the Atlantic and Medi-

Map of the area (the map is joined)

terranean coasts and islands.

For further information and documentation on the salt of Guérande: Co-operative

of Salters (G.P.S.), Boite postale 50, F-44350 GUÉRANDE

Tel + 33 2 40 62 01 25/ Fax + 33 2 40 24 79 84 Maison du Sel (same address as G.P.S.) Tel + 33 2 40 62 08 80/ Fax + 33 2402479


Musée des Marais salants, 29 bis, rue Pasteur, F-44740 BATZlMER Tel + 33 2 40 23 82 79 /Fax + 33240237151 Maison des Paludiers, Saillé, F-44350 GUÉRANDE Tel + 33 2 62 21 96/ Fax + 33 2 15 03 46 For further information on the training course: Service de Formation, Chambre d'Agriculture, F-44939 NANTES cedex 9 Tel + 33 O 40 1638 02


The beauty and the typical light of the area attract many artists. Once per year they participate in a contest organised by the salters. Les Peinlres dans la saline is one of several cultural activities that take place in or close to the salt-marshes.

environmental officer at the local council 's contryside commission FRANCE

Photo: Hjatmar DAHM



by Mr. Manuel González-Carbajal, who registered the title deeds


Arango and García de Castro families, who continued to produce salt.

in his name on the lJIh of June 1900. At the time, the estate was used for hunting, fishing and for producing 7,000 tonnes of salt. The estate was later passed on to his heirs, the Cuervo-

The salt pans are built on an old, silted up, coastal lagoon. Although this article is a brief history of the "Salinas

The surface area under water was minimal and gradually de-

Marítimas de Bras del Port" (Bras del Port Coastal Saltworks), it probably reflects the basic situation of many other saltems

creasing. This problem was overcome by building a series of dykes and by using an animal-driven water wheel to bring more water

and we are sure that the directors of other salt pans will share

into the pans and increase the flooded area.

many of our concems. Salt production started in Santa Poi a, probably in an elernentary fashion, in Roman times. We know there was a tuna salting industry in the area at the time. According to the records, the

Later, electricity and powerful pumps were introduced and, thanks to this new technology, the entire surface area of the estate was flooded. There are currently 256 km. of dykes in the

Bras del Port estate belonged to the Spanish Crown. Elizabeth 1,exercising her royal prerogative, granted the estate to the Count

saltem, built and maintained since 1900, by the owners. If it were not for these efforts, today, there would not be 900 ha. of

of Altamira, who, in tum, sold it into private hands. It was bought

artificial wetlands.

~~--~~~~~~~ »<=>: /"

A erial view of the Salinas of Santa Pola.


Leaving the serious problems we have with the Authorities

The work was well received by all; the local, regional and national population and by Europe. It was included in the international convention

to one side for a moment, there are other important conservation issues to be faced. Everyone knows that the conservation of the area is totally dependent on the profitability of the sal! that is produced there.

on wetlands (Ramsar 1971) and the

Generalidad Valenciana (the Autonomous Govemment of the Valencia region) issued a decree declaring it, first of all a Wildemess Area, in 1988, and later a Nature Park.

In recent years, fierce competition has become a threat to the industry. New salt works, using salt from mines and energy surpluses from other industries, or electricity generating stations that produce salt as a secondary product, are threatening the very existence of most of our coastal salt pans. Spain has a surplus of salt and export prices would be too low to maintain the traditional salt industry if a large proportion of salt production were exported. If domestic prices dropped as well, even more salt works would close down. Low-priced imports

A view of the large crystallisers of the salinas of Bras del Port.

Photo: Conselleria de Medio Ambiente.Generalitat Valenciana

are starting to appear on the market, making it impossible to set reasonable prices in the

The Generalidad drew up a Management and Use Plan for

home market, and prices are already depressed. There has been talk of subsidies, but the way these are granted

the park limiting the owners' rights without any form of compensation whatsoever. AlI this was done unilaterally and has

make them dangerous. They could end up generating even more unfair competition. We believe the best support would be a system of tax and rates exemptions for the traditional coastal salt

led to a sharp fall in the value of the estate. We consider these actions to be totally unethical and uncivilised, actions that have been carried out at the cost of th.e very people who created the

industry. The same incentives should be granted to sea-harvesters as

Park in the first place. We are also deeply concemed about the Coasts Act (Ley de

well, as they keep the former salt pools water tight and flood them for breeding and rearing fish.

Costas). It is a confiscatory law that has no regard for either the land register, or even for sales rnade by the State itself, before

If we had outright title to the land, we could take out loans or mortgages if necessary. But, as mere tenants, this is another

the law carne into force. The State takes the tide to the land and then grants the former owner a 30 year lease (with an option to

door that is closed to uso This article expresses the feelings of a sal! worker who has

extend the lease for another 30 years), in payment for the property. In other words, they get the land for nothing.

devoted his whole life to creating and maintaining an important an environmentally-friendly industry that uses sun and wind as

In these cases, the leases put the Park at risk beca use land owners will invest in their own properties, but what state is the

energy and provides the necessary habitat for a wealth of bio-

land going to be in when these leases run out? They will obvi-

logical diversity.

ously be in a sorry state, as the leaseholders will do as little as possible, instead of investing in the land and maintaining it, as MIGUEL CUERVO-ARANGO

they do with their own property. We believe that this system will be a death warrant for everything that has been created.

Salinas MarĂ­timas de Bras del Port S.A. Alicante SPAIN


From all the above parts only condensers and reservoirs, ac-


tually occupying ea. 90% of the saltworks area, are important for wild life. The Messolonghi saltworks is mn by the state owned "Hellenic Saltworks SA", which has been founded in 1988 with the primary aim of making Greece self-sufficient in salt production by developing the viable saltworks throughout Greece and modernising their operations. Beside Messolonghi, the company operates seven other saltworks in Greece and has started to set up a new saltworks installation on the Aegean island ofLirnnos.

Messolonghi saltworks is located in the West of Central Greece, West ofthe town ofMessolonghi. Although higher tern-

Description of the saline wetland

peratures and lower precipitation in south-eastern Greece is more favourable to salt production, Messolonghi saltworks is the biggest saltworks in Greece. This is simply because it occupies a

The Messolonghi saltworks site is part of the large wetland complex of"Messolonghi and Aetolikon lagoons, and Acheloos and Evinos estuaries" hereafter called "Messolonghi wetland complex" or simply "complex", The complex has been created

very large area (1,240 ha), which by far exceeds in size the flat saline lands available in the drier part of Greece. In average, Messolonghi saltworks produces ea. 110,000 tons of salt per annum. This production satisfies about 40% of the Greek domestic demand for salt. Because ofthe continuous irn-

by the rivers Acheloos and Evinos and is dominated by the la-

provements in the salt production know-how and technical in-

The Messolonghi wetland complex is one ofthe most important habitats in the European Union under Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds and classified as

goons of Messolonghi, which is one of the largest in the Mediterranean, and Aetolikon. It is partly a Ramsar site.

stallation, the quality as well as the quantity of the production are steadily increasing. The Messolonghi saltworks is a fully mecha nised plant as far as the saltpans layout, the pumping (electric) and the salt harvesting method (mechanical) are concerned. Briefly, the principal installations of the saltworks are the following (Petanidou, 1994): saltpans (condensers or solar evaporation ponds), in serial connection, where a successive

(} ~ ~


evaporation of the sea water takes place, till saturation;


crystallisers (crystallising basins) where the saturated brine is brought periodically, depositing on the bottom a layer of salt 8 to 17 cm thick; reservoirs, i.e. deep brinestoring ponds;

Situation of the Messolonghi Saltworks

pumping stations, canals, gates, small bridges etc., to control brine flow;

a Special Protection Area pursuant to this Directive. Over 40 bird species of Annex I of this Directive can be found here, most of them either occurring regularly or nesting in the area.

equipment for harvesting, transporting, washing, and storing the salt; weather station and chemical laboratory;

The most threatened European bird species, the slender-billed curlew, Numenius tenuirostris, is reported to use the area dur-



ing migration. Yet, since a long time the area is under very serious and imminent threat of deterioration due to development activities on the one hand and lack of appropriate management on the other (European Commission, 1994). Seventy-one bird species were observed in the Messolonghi saltworks during 1991. Twenty-five of them are characterised as threatened or possibly threatened with extinction in Europe, and, ofthese, 20 are protected by Community or Greek legislation (see Council Directive 79/409/EEC; HandrinĂłs 1992; Grimmet and Jones 1989). Fifty-seven of the recorded bird species used the saltworks for resting, feeding, and breedmg Besides its importance under the birds Directive (79/409/EEC), the site ofMessolonghi saltworks is particularly important under

Messolonghi Saltworks, Greece.

Photo Theodora PETANIDOU

A very important problem for the well-being of the omithofauna in the saltworks has been the high instability/ unpredictability of the saltworks ecosystem, caused by the hu-

the more recent Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (hereafter called Habitats Directive) According to Annex Iofthis Community Directive, lagoons are a priority habitat type. Furthermore,

man activities on the site. This is mainly due to the big changes in the water level undertaken occasionally to regulate water flow

the interpretation manual on the priority habitat types states that ÂŤsaltbasins and saltponds may also be considered as lagoons, pro-

in the saltpans. As a result, severe problems raised, first to the feeding birds, and secondly, and more important, to the breed-

vided they had their origin on a transformed natural old lagoon or on a saltmarsh, and are characterised by a minor impact from

ing birds, especially when the low-Ievel nest areas were suddenly flooded, with detrimental effects for the already existing

exploitationÂť. This clearly identifies the saltpans and reservoirs ofthe Messolonghi saltworks as a priority habitat type under the

nests. The fluctuation of the brine level may also affect the occurring flora, albeit not at the same extent as the birds; this is

Habitats Directive, and therefore, being expected as corresponding to one of the sites of the National Greek list according to

because first, the plants are rather tolerant to such changes, and second, because on the long term they may be rather persistent.

Article 4.1 of the Directive. However, this list has not yet been finalised (December 1995).

The problem of flooded nesting sites in hand with the fact that the saltworks gradually became more frequented by birds than the surrounding wetland complex, due to the intensification of the human activities there, brought up the need to solve

Problems and remedies related to the saltworks conservation

a problem which had not been identified before: that of competition for space among birds on the saltworks site. The employ-

Although a big number of bird species characterised as rare, threatened, or under extinction has been found to make use of

ees of the saltworks noticed more and more that, although there where several naturally existing islets throughout the saltworks

the Messolonghi saltworks in 1991, in reality this number is not highly representative, since it may greatly vary from year

territory, these either were exclusively used by a particular part

to year. This is not necessary or always a result of ahuman intervention. Sometimes such fluctuations are caused by fac-

of the omithofauna, or they just were not enough for the needs of some others. This was because: The vegetation of most islets was quite dense, which in fact made them unattractive for tems and avocets.

tors far from the site. For instance, some ofthe species found in the saltworks breed in the arctic region, thus depending on the conditions prevailing there, incJuding the life cycJes and abundance of their prey, i.e. small mice etc. In other instances, as a result of unpredictable weather conditions, many of the migra-

In some cases these birds prefer to nest on earth roads that either are of very low level with high risk of being flooded, or of particularly frequent human/vehicJe circulation. Both

tory birds may change their routes or passing stations for resting and feeding. However, the populations ofthe wintering birds

these factors prevent the birds of having their colony established and achieving a successful reproduction result.

may also show large yearly variations as a result of weather conditions as well as conditions related to the state of the popu-

Two of the biggest colonies are located in the brine reservoirs. The level of the brine there, may stay high tilllate spring, which

lation of the species in question.

is later than the starting date of the reproduction periodo




Many of the existing islets being occupied by Herring Gulls since the end of the winter; such islets were avoided by the less competitive species Iike tems. It became gradually evident that the size of the existing islets did not remain constant, since they passively followed the rhythm of natural erosion vs mud and sand deposition, with the erosion rather prevailing


over deposition because ofthe dike-






closed system. As a consequence, vegetationless islets became smaller in surface and lower in height, and

Colonies and Artificial islets

The islets were constructed at the end of the summer 1991,

in the long term threatened with disappearance.

after the end of the breeding periodo The basic material of construction was sandy gravel from torrent deposits. This material was considered to be the most appropriate for the tem's nest-

In order to counter these threats, the Direction of the "Messolonghi Saltworks SA" asked for help from scientists

ing, first, because it can be easily dug by these birds in order to

in this field and applied for financial support from the European Communities for a project conceming "The upgrading

create a nest, and second, because it is ideal as far as protection of eggs and chicks is concemed, as both of them can effectively

of the Messolonghi saltworks from the ecological point of view", The Community financing was approved in 1989 within

mix in colour and shape with the gravel stones. Furthermore, sandy gravel is a material rather frequent in the region. Two out of the six islets artificially constructed or upgraded

the framework ofthe ACE-Biotopes programme, as part of an ampler praject aiming at a comprehensive management programme for the Messolonghi



in 1991 have been proved very successful in attracting waterfowl, as anticipated from the beginning of the project.

wetland complex (European

Commission, 1994). It started in the beginning of 1990 and lasted for two years.

In 1990 the total number of pairs that bred there was 42 for the Gull-billed Tems, 81 for Common Tems, and 78 for the

The basic target point of the Messolonghi saltworks commitment within this project, was to upgrade the existing islets, as

Little Tems. Before upgrading the two islets, these birds chose small earth dikes to breed on, ea. 50 cm above the water level. As the dikes normally did not exceed 2 m width, the colonies

well as to create some new ones to be used by the nesting birds that were under threat because of the aforementioned problems.

were distributed lengthwise. This distribution type, along with the low height ofthe dikes tumed the colonies to be very vulnerable to any rise of the water level. The same phenomenon has been observed in a tiny and very low-Ievel islet that existed before in this area and was massively occupied by dozens of Little


Tems. After upgrading the islets in 1991 the

-JI-----., _




o _






situation has considerably changed. In MESSOLONGm

particular: • the Gull-billed Tem colony -almost


in its totality, has moved from an old Messolonghi Saltworks

nearby dike it occurred to one of the



as a result, today the old dike supports no more than 10

the framework of their environmental education on the Messolonghi saltworks parallel function first as salt pro-

pairs, whereas the respective number for the new islet in 1994 was at least 124 - the largest Gull-billed Tem colony in Greece! It should be bom in mind that Gull-billed Tem is

ducing area and second as a wild life habitat. it supports financially and on a permanent basis the publishing ofthe local magazine entitled "Environmental Edu-

one of the most threatened species in Europe, characterised as endangered in Greece according t贸 the Red Data Book

cation" edited under the auspices of the aforementioned

newly constructed islets since the first year of its existence;

Direction of Education; on occasional basis it supports the

for birds (Handrinos 1992).

publishing of several school periodicals dealing with nature conservation. it participates in meetings and seminars on nature conser-

the Common Tem colony amounts today to at least 150 pairs, which in their majority are also established on the newly constructed islet.

vation topics, and collaborates with the local nature conser-

the colony ofLittle Tems counts more than 100 pairs, but it continues to its majority to be rather bound to the old dike. In this case, the construction of a third, new is-

vation NGO.


let might have better results in attracting and multiplying of their population. (P. Pergantis, personal observations). An observatory for birdwatching was created at the east


part of the saltworks area. This was expected to enhance public awareness as far as bird protection is concemed, not only within the saltworks but in the wider area as well. Further it was expected to contribute to the

Artificial islets

Measures actually taken as a follow up of the action

environmental education in schools, as well as to more efficiently attract bird-watching tourism in the area. The Hellenic


SA, through its saltworks

In order to intensify the long-term results of the measures taken in the framework of the measures mentioned above, the Hellenic Saltworks SA continue today to be actively interested


Messolonghi has a close collaboration with the Direction of High School Education of the Aetoloakamania prefecture. In the framework of this collaboration:

in re-evaluating their actions, reinforcing their interference, as well as in scheduling new actions in the framework of the network of the saltworks they operate. Actions to reinforce their

it welcomes all visitors (groups or individuals), supplying


them with prepared printed material to explain and highlight the importance of the saltworks wetland; all visitors

Messolonghi, include: The preservation of the pre-existing islets and those constructed in 1991, so that they remain unchanged in size and

are encouraged to make use of the saltworks facilities for bird watching etc., such as the bird watching-tower, bin-



in the saltworks


characteristics. In addition, two peripheral, about 4 km long earth roads in

oculars, telescopes etc. it receives on a yearly basis several groups of high school pupils to carry out particular projects in the saltworks area.

the saltworks have been totally abandoned, since it has been

As an example, during the school year 1994-1995, the 4th elementary school ofthe Messolonghi area in collaboration

observed that they were consistently used mainly by tems for nesting. The water level in the saltpans of the constructed islets is

with the Messolonghi saltworks has carried out a project in

kept to a minimum so that flooding is avoided.


Messolonghi saltworks, Greece

Photo: Theodora PETANIDOU


Where dikes are to be created, the construction entails a special care to avoid any bird predator access, such as of foxes and dogs.

The above numbers and facts show clearly that the experiment ofMessolonghi

From the beginning ofNovember untilllate March the works

saltworks has been proved up to now as

relatively to rather successful, and that we are now in the position to conclude that bird protection there has been posi-

in the saltworks are practically ceased. During this period an area of ea 300 ha that was previously flooded is kept

tively enhanced. Of course, there are several actions to be undertaken so that the existing premises and the eventual situ-

brine-free; due to the combined effect of winter rains together with the drainage, the area becomes gradually rather

ation of birds could be further improved. These targets could

muddy, attracting a big number of birds.

be achieved through the construction of new islets on the one hand, and on the other, through an active discouraging of gulls

During the same period, only the main road in the saltworks is under use, with all peripheral roads abandoned for the exclusive use by birds.

and encouraging of tems to breed on certain islets (by using for instance decoys). The results from the Messolonghi ex-

Areas of tall vegetation never flooded are particularly taken

periment and the conclusions drawn before and thereafter are always taken into account especially when the "Hellenic

care of as far as the risk of buming is concemed. After several years of consecutive conflicts with individual

Saltworks SA" is in the course of upgrading a saltwork, or

hunters as well as with several hunting associations -that

setting up new saltworks installations, such as the one actually under construction on the island ofLimnos. In such cases, additional remedies which have been never achieved in the

even led to court cases, hunting today has almost stopped on the saltworks site; in parallel, hunting pressure from the peripheral roads leading to the saltworks has diminished. Any vehicle or big animal access to the saltworks is banned by installed iron bars.



are adopted

in favour of the

omithofauna. Such an example is the aerial cabling which has been always an obstacle to the flying birds in the

In all pumping stations, the previously existing Diesel en-

Messolonghi saltworks, but could never be replaced by an underground one. In fact, the underground cabling of Limnos saltworks has been by now already set.

gines have been replaced by electric ones, which reduced the noise during their operation.

THEODORAPETANIDOU School o/ Agriculture, Aristotle University Thessaloniki GREECE



Tbe analysis of tbis documents togetber with toponymic


records reveals tbat in all estuaries of our coast there salinas,


being the commerce of salt one of the main income sources of the Portuguese economy during tbe Middle Age (Rau 1884). Significant cbanges of our coastline, and particularly in the


smaller estuaries, confined the sal! exploitation to the large estuaries , from the XV/XVI centuries until the present; the Ria de

This work summarises briefly our present knowledge on the Portuguese salinas. The study of this habitat has made a sub-

Aveiro, the Mondego estuary (at Figueira da Foz), tbe Tejo es-

stantial part of our work in recent times. Despite the abandonment and destruction to which the Portuguese salinas have been subject, more and more people has

tuary, the Sado estuary and the Algarve (Faro lagoon and Guadiana estuary).

been looking to them in recent years, not only for its ecological aspects but also for its ethnographic, patrimonial and landscape values. Several Universities and Councils are con cerned with the preservation and enhancement of this areas, a situation which was not perceived until very recently. This made possible the launching of a National Inventory of Salinas in 1997, which is in tbe course of collecting information , in collaboration with local institutions and organisations. With tbis inventory we hope get a correct view of the present status of the salinas in Portugal, measuring tbe extent of destruction, and to understand some of tbe economical mechanisms that regulate the activity. Tbis knowledge will bopefully

Salinas in the Sado estuary, Portugal.

provide tbe basis for the development of integrated management measures which will effectively protect this areas.

Pholo: Renalo NEVES

A complex combination of internal and external factors, like the decadence of tbe Atlantic salinas in France during the One Hundred Years War and the increase ofHerring fisheries in the

History The history of the salt in Portugal is as old the country itself.

North Sea and Baltic, increased significantly the demand for Portuguese salt at the turn oftbe XV century by tbe Dutch, and

Tbe vast coast line, interrupted by an endless number of rivers forming small or large estuaries, a saline sea, wind and sun during a considerable part of the year, provide ideal conditions for the production of salt in salinas, and determined the development

specially for the sal! produced at the Sado estuary, renowned by its purity and superior quality. Hundreds of ships call upon the port of SetĂşbal for salt and

of this activities in a number of places along the coast. Tbere is

tbis increment in demand lead to an extraordinary development of tbe Sado salinas. Dates from tbis period tbe establishment of

abundant literature concerning the salt exploitation during the Middle Age, namely laws, wills, tax documents and others.

a regulation mecbanism of the sal! commerce, named Roda do Sal , wbich worked as a market wbere producers, dealers and ship-owners agreed the price of salt for each year as well as production quotas for eacb of tbe salinas. The production was exported in large quantities to The Netherlands but also to Ireland, Scotland, England, Poland and to tbe Baltic States. A national survey undertaken at the end of the XVIII century indicates tbe existence of 2000 active salinas, whicb employed a total of 5400 workmen. By the time tbe exportation of sal! to the Netherlands was less important but the increase of the Portuguese fishing fleet

Salinas in the Sado estuary, Portugal.

operating in Greenland and Newfoundland for cod, was taking a significant proportion of the salt production. The cod was

Pholo: Renalo NEVES



then getting a very important role in the diet of the Portuguese

Although all the Portuguese salinas are located in estuaries

people and, together with the sardine, it made a large proportion of the fish consumption. The interdependence between the

and are divided in similar compartments (reservoir, evaporator and crystallisation area) there are significant variations, from

cod fisheries and the salinas is reflected by the geographic 10cation of the fishing ports devoted to this fisheries and of the

region to region, in shape and exploitation practices. We can group the existing salinas in two major groups, according to the way the

cod drying plants, all in the vicinity of important salt production areas; Aveiro, Figueira da Foz, Alcochete and Moita (in the

salt is actually extracted: that ofthe Aveiro and Figueira da Foz, where as soon as the precipitation of salt starts it is extracted, at 3

Tejo estuary) and several others. The salt industry, with its ups and downs, entered the XX century using technologies known

to 4 days interval, and that of the Tejo and Sado where the salt is removed only 1 or 2 times in a season. The first ones are usually

for hundreds, or even thousands, of years.

smaller (4 / 8 ha.) and have a more elaborated design, with the

At first hardly visible, but later more and more obvious, the signs of the decadence of the Portuguese salt industry started

crystallisation and evaporation areas divided in several small compartments. To work this salinas 1 to 3 people, tied by family links,

by mid 1950's as the result of several factors, namely the tech-

are usually enough. Those of Tejo and Sado have a simplified structure and are usually larger (>I O ha.). To work these salinas a

nological changes in chemical industry, the use of cold in the preservation of food items and specially fish, the loss of competitivity of the Portuguese salt prices, the increase in the area of rice plantation in

number of workman are needed. One of the peculiarities of the salinas exploited in the Tejo

estuarine areas (specially in the Sado). The activity was gradualy abandoned and the implementation of financial instruments to support the transformation of salinas into fish-farrns increased the rhythrn of destruction in the 1980's.

ThNalt technology Even today the degree of mechanisation and industrialisation of the salt exploitation in Portugal is not very significant. Only in the AIgarve there are salinas to

Salinas in the Sado estuary, Portugal.

Photo: Renato NEVES

which we can appropriately call industrial, but even those are still away from the type of industrial salinas that can be found

way was the development of a bottom layer of algae which

in some place s in the Mediterranean, namely in southem Spain and France. In some of the remaining saltwork areas of Portu-

At present there are several salinas in the Sado estuary which are exploited in the Aveiro way by people from the Aveiro re-

gal some salinas were regrouped to allow the introduction of

gion which make seasonal migrations to work in the Sado salinas. Associated to this diversity there is a true salt culture where

allowed for the removal of salt free from sediment particles.

mechanical processes, but they do not fit in the industrial category. It can be said that most of the Portuguese salinas have

every channel, compartment, process and instrument has its own name, varying from region to region. Being a traditional crafts-

never seen the Industrial Revolution. Therefore, in all the regions there are-still salinas using artisan technologies and ex-

man it arrived to our days as the result of the accumulation of knowledge and tradition over generationsand therefore should

ploiting practices, preserving a rich cultural heritage and creating a characteristic geometric and colourfullandscape.

be preserved. A series of other culturallegacies


are associated

to the salt exploitation, given its economical dominance for a large historical period, namely some architectural features and the existence of characteristic vesseis adapted to salt transport, within the estuarine areas and outside them.

Present situation in the different saItwork regions AVEIRO - The majority of the salinas in the Aveiro lagoon are located in islands, and therefore subject to strong erosion processes, particularly in recent years with the increase in tidal range which resulted from dredging at the mouth of the lagoon.

The Mercantel, a traditional boat used for sal! transportation in the Ria de Aveiro.

Photo: Renato NEVES

This caused the abandon and destruction of the vast majority of the salinas in this area and the salt exploitation is very close to extinction. The 1997 survey showed that

SADO - It was in this region that the conversion of salinas into fish-farms went further, with about 35 % of the total area

only 11.6 % of the salinas are active. 58 % are destroyed and 27 % were transformed to fish-farms. The remaining 3.4 % are inac-

already transformed. Other salinas, particularly those located in the inner parts of the estuary were destroyed and the land

tive but the walls are still unbroken.

used for rice-fields. Only a small proportion of tbe area is still active, using the Aveiro and Sado technology. The remaining

FIGUEIRA DA FOZ - Despite a certain degree of abandonment and the transformation of some salinas into fish-farms

ones are inactive and facing different degradation processes according to their location inside the estuary.

there are still a good number of active salinas, most of them working in the traditional way. This is likely to be the region where the traditional saltworks are in a better shape.

ALGARVE - The salt production of this region has seen an small expansion in the last decades as the result of the industrialisation and mechanisation of its processes. Yet a number traditional salinas are still active, particularly in the Guadiana estuary.

TEJO - A significant part of the Tejo salinas were located in the area where urban and industrial expansion took place in the last decades, this lead to destruction of many of them. Today

The importance of portuguese salinas for waterbirds

only a very small number of salinas are active in this region and

One of the natural values we immediately associate with the salinas is the waterbird population, and particularly waders, as

those which are inactive face a fast degradation process.

they use this habitat to forage while in migration or wintering and to breed in spring. The importance of this habitat is well documented by publications of authors around the world, from Europe to South Africa and from India to North America. In Portugal significant proportions of the national, and European, breeding populations of a selection of species, namely Blackwinged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta), Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) and Little Tern (Sterna albifrons), depend on salinas. At the Aveiro region the 1997 survey revealed ea, 100 pairs ofLittle Tern, ofwhich 90 % where in active salinas, 2 pairs of Cornmon Tern (Sterna hirundo), 65 pairs ofBlack-winged Stilt, with 69 % in active salinas and 120 pairs of Kentish Plover, of

Vasa-Sacos, Tejo estuary, one ofthe few portuguese salinas largerthan 100 ha. Photo: Renato NEVES


panies operating in this market and Councils, in an attempt to promote the discussion on the issue of conservation ofthis habitat. Looking to what has been done in other countries and to the actions that need to be taken it is clear that we need the participation of al! those who are associated to this activity, in order to achieve acceptable solutions for its conservation. At ICN we are planning to put forward an application for LIFE Nature, conceming the rehabilitation and valorisation of salinas in the Sado Nature Reserve, and the Ria Formosa Natural Park is helping to set up the conditions for the reactivation of traditional salinas in the Faro lagoon. Chromatic variety given to the landscape by salinas.





which 82 % where in active salinas. This numbers are significant at the nationallevel but they also show the importance of active salinas for breeding populations.

• Rau, V. 1984. Estudos sobre a história do sal Portugués. Editorial Presenca. Pp. 35-85 • Jose Pedro Granadeiro Rua Filipe Folque 46, 3° - 1050 LISBOA

Actions to take In the near future, after the publication of the national inventory of salinas, we hope to promote public awareness at the locallevel, with the participation of ICN, salina owners, com-

RENATONEVES & RUI RUFINO Instituto da Conservacáo da Natureza (ICN) Lisboa PORTUGAL

Destruction of the salinas in the Tejo estuary.





exceed 200 thousand. In particular in Sicily, the about 100 thou-


sand hectares of wetlands that existed at the beginning of this century; for reasons of govemment intervention, drainage and reclamation etc. carried out between 1920 and 1950, not even 5


thousand hectares remain. These few statistics indicate that it is essential to adopt a


common plan of action for the Mediterranean area, and to make the transition from intemational declarations to concrete ac-


tions in arder that this heritage can be passed on to future generations. The intemational organizations created to protect nature are

THE ENVIRONMENT LIFE Nature - The Natural Reserves of the " Isole dello Stagnone" and the "Trapani and Paceco salt pans area" (Sicily)

eas and the necessity of adopting a common policy for the management of the wetlands. This policy must be regulated at an


intemational level, promoting the exchange and free flow of information, with the objective of promoting a "tenable" use

completely aware of the importance of safeguarding these ar-

For many years the scientific world, together with intergoveming, nongoveming, national, intemational and Eu-

and the application

of intemational agreements for the safe-

guarding and conservation of the above.

ropean Community organizations etc., by means of numerous intemational agreements such as those of Ramsar and the Grado

The area of intervention - a brief geographic and environmental framing

Declaration on the Mediterranean Wetlands and last in cronological order the Venice Conference on the Mediterranean

Geographically, the area of intervention falls within the circle of two Regional Natural Reserves, the "Saline di Trapani e Pececo" on the north and the "Stagnone di Marsala" on the

Wetlands, seen to informing and drawing the attention of public opinion, specifically that of various national, regional and local govemments in order that they become promoters of ini-

south, compressed between the urban centers of Trapani and

tiatives that can arrest the loss and the degradation of the wetlands, natural as well as artificial; already recognized as community's heritage.

Marsala. -.~.~.:=-::---

Amongst the many and very important functions performed by the wetlands, hydrogeologic, climatic, economic etc., the biological function assumes a particular character that in itself makes understandable the reason for which these areas have been recognized by these organizations as community's heritage, not only in the state of geographic relevance but also in the intemational community. The continuing reduction of these breeding grounds, the poaching, and environmental degradation causes a forced lengthening of the distances between rest stops of migrating birds, by as much as hundreds of kilometers, causing their death due to exhaustion and enfeeblement, consequently reducing this omithic population. The longer this goes on, in the worst cases it could also provoke extinction of the species. If you think that in the course of the 20th century, in the Mediterranean area, the wetlands have been reduced by 50% as a result of human intervention. In Italy, comparing with the almost 3 million hectares of wetlands that existed in the period after the fall of the Roman Empire, today these do not

Saline di Trapani, Antonio Bova 1761


The "Stagnone di Marsala" represents one of the last lagoons existing in Sicily, It includes swamps and islets, has a depth of

Aspects of environmental degradation

about 2 meters, and contains widespread thick grasslands of

vast areas characterized by the phenomenon of degradation with the presence above all of uncontrolled pasturage, fires,

Along with a high natural and landscape value, there exist

Posidonia oceanica. The land vegetation consists of the Salicornia and Salsola species, while of particular interest, from


the dumping of waste materials of all kinds. These ele-

a scientific point of view, is the presence of various specimen such as the dwarf palm (Chamerops humilis) and the Maritime Calendula.

ments that have caused the reduction of humid breeding grounds and consequently of aquatic animals, and vegetable species almost all of salt water and of notable importance from

The humid environment of the "Saline di Trapani" posseses

a botanical point of view, by now always less present in the regional ambit.

characteristics similar to those of the "Stagnone di Marsala" a few kilometers away. The peculiarity of the former area is that within it an integration of environmental and economic acitivity has been realized. This activity consists predominantly of salt extraction based on traditional techniques that have proved to

Why a project for the recovery and conservation of the birds

be ecocompatible. The salt works represent one of the most important sources of sea salt in Sicily.

line di Trapani e Pececo" and "Isole dello Stagnone di Marsala" are included as the most important wetlands of western Sicily,

Habitats very similar to those of the coastallagoons are found

with the noteworthy peculiarity that they are situated on one of

along the coastal stretches. These produce vegetable and animal settlements particular to brackish environments. Coastal

the major Mediterranean migratory routes between Europe and Africa.

stretches reveal sandy borders with the occasional presence of dune residues containing typical formations of little beaches of

From recent studies and observations on fauna (Massa, LoValvo, Sara etc.) the importance of this area for migrating

Posidonia oceanico, that irrefutably also inhabits the sea bottom in front. Locally, there are evaporating basins used for fish cultivation, both intensive and semiintensive.

avifauna is made evident in that: 40% of the species present enter in the CEE Directive 79/409: that is, species for which

On the basis of these considerations; the two reserves, "Sa-

The presence of the mouths of some streams, active to a cer-

exist special provisions for conservation to assure their survival and reproduction within their breeding grounds of distribution.

tain degree during meteorologic events, favours the establish-

43% ofthe same species enter in the Bern Convention that pro-

ment in these brackish waters oflower salinity, unusual vegetation characterized by marsh reeds, beds of rushes and other aquatic plants, extremely important for the nesting and stop-

vides measures for the protection of migratory areas, prohibiting damaging or destruction. The capture or hunting of wildlife is also prohibited by the same convention. Meanwhile, 38% of the species present re-enter in the Bonn Convention that provides measures favouring interna-

ping of numerous birds.

tional cooperation for their conservation and management. The ornithologic motivation which has permitted this sight to be identified and included amongst the 140 present in Italy, regards, in fact, the presence of 50-70 couples of Blackwinged stilt (Himantopus himantopus), 120 couples of Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus) and 15-40 couples of Little tern (Sterna albifrons). In addition more than 21,000 ducks and other aquatic birds stop in the spring in this part of Sicily. Roman wall (Salina Ettore- Trapani)

Photo Alberto LUENGO


To these one adds a few specimen of mi grating species such as the Spoon-

bill (Platalea leucorodia) that, in flocks of 100-200, stop in spring and in fal!. In the spring one can also observe flocks of as many as 20,000 Garganeys (Anas querquedula ). AII of this justifies the insertion of this area in "Important Bird Areas in Europe and in HA PreH

liminary Inventory of Wetlands of lnternaiional lmportance for Waterfowl in West Europe and Northafrica'' in the sense of the application of the intemational convention of Ramsar. Besides the undoubtable naturalistic value of this stretch of coast, one associates it with a historicalcultural wealth that comes from the, by now, hundreds of activities participant in the cultivation of sea Typical protection of the harvested salt by tiles covering

salt; an "industrial" activity that still today is dealt with using methods that have demonstrated to be ecocompatible

PhOIO: Cipriano MARĂ­N

The planning part as well as correspondence with the European Union have been entrusted by the above adrninistrations

and that have permitted in all these years the conservation of the landscape from speculative actions ofvarious kinds; that not with-

to the Cooperativa GATE (Agency for the promotion of the Mediterranean in Europe) of Palermo, the promoter of the planned proposal presented to the D.G. XI Environment ofthe

standing the artificial impression has assumed in the course of centuries numerous naturalistic characteristics. It is precisely from these premises that the need for interven-

European Union. The interventions that have been proposed to the Brussels

tion to protect, conserve and evaluate this natural patrimony was bom, becoming favourable through the sharing and par-

Commission re-en ter in particular

ticipation in this initiative of the local administrations and the agencies appointed to the management ofthe two Regional Natu-

moted by the European Union in favour of the environment and specifically in actions for the protection and conservation of

ral Reserves of the "Saline di Trapani e Paceco" and of the "Stagnone di Marsala" respectively given to the WWF and the

habitats and of species of animals and vegetables of community importance, in the ambit of the community program for

Regional Province of Trapani.

l'environment LIFE, succesively renamed LIFE Nature.

The aforesaid initiative was brought to the attention of the European Union which in tum demonstrated its interest cofinancing the envronmental recovery project of this area with a contri bu-

General objectives of the Ă­nterventĂ­ons

amongst the actions pro-

tion of 50% of the total outlay for the realization of the interven-

In particular the interventions contemplate eliminating all forms of degradation and of direct and indirect causes that might

tions. The remaining 50% of the financing has been covered by the Provincial Administration ofTrapani, with the contribution of

threaten the integrity of the wetlands, let alone the fauna and flora associated with them, reconstructing the conditions that

the municipalities of respectively, Trapani, Marsala and Paceco.

reflect those more naturalistic and favouring biodiversity. The predominant character of the initiative, considering also the vocation ofthe territory, would be to designate a major part of the financial resources for the reconstruction of habitats potentially favourable to the landing and nesting of some species belonging to the avifauna both settled and migratory. Priority is given to interventions geared to threatened species or those that suffer a constant reduction of nesting zones and that in the last years have registered a constant reduction in the number of nested omithic contingents such as the Little tem (Sterna 'llbifrons), Black-winged stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), Avocet (Recurvirostra


avosetta), and the Pratincole (G/areola pratincola).

Alberto LUENGO


area; but, believe that it can be the first concrete step not only to avoiding continued degredation but to making the above outlined initiative assume a demonstrative function in confrontation with other local governments so that in part these investments go to the benifit of these areas, beginning a true development policy that takes steps also by means of the evaluation of natural and environmental properties that today more than ever for many depressed areas of the Mediterranean represent the true and singular resource that can reaIly create jobs. The protected areas are in zones of high economic and cultural interest. In other realities the interest of safeguarding nature is coupled with

Salt transportation by means of caldarelle. Photo of the 30's

the legitimate interest of the people, often using lone tourism as the flywheel influencing other economic sectors such as agriculture, handicrafts, agritourism and others.

The project, in addition identifies itself as a pilot project with the characteristics of transferability and demonstrative objectives, in some cases innovative distinguished by proposed meth-


ods of intervening.

Environment Sector c/o SociĂŠtĂŠ GATE - Palermo Sicily ITALY

For example, with respect to the botanical aspect, the character of experiments brings attention with reguards to the species foreseen for propagation obviously almost aIl salt water. For these there seems to be no experience in their use for interventions of revegetation in such extreme environments of elevated salinity. To sustain this activity, the implementation and getting underway of an experimental nursery destined to the preparation of vegetable materials for propogation is forecast. It is hoped that the activity of the nursery can be extended beyond the duration of the project itself, establishing a laboratory for the propagation and use of these species for future interventions revegetation in similar environments.


The initiative also contemplates bringing attention to the characteristics and the demonstrable aspects or rather agree to be able to use the experience developed and the results obtained for successive interventions conducted by public and private parties. At the completion of the project the foIlowing have given notable contributions: the management agencies of the reserves, (WWF, the Regional Province ofTrapani), the Forest Rangers, and the owners of the saltworks, have provided suggestions and precious data not to mention the informative materials made available by them. 1 reserve that this intervention does not pretend to be the definitive solution to the environmental problems present in this

Traditional windmill in the Trapani salinas



Photo: Alberto LUENGO

energy) maximising prestige, various ecological association maximising preservation and so on, is not easy at all! The idea


of a Consortium taking care of the estate value and its management and arbitrating among all the previously mentioned vested interests is getting ground and 1 have been charged with the task of the definition of the charter of this Consortium, which eventually will put together the Finance Ministry General Directorate for State Estates (avoiding costly sale - purchase and keeping it as the host but not the direct manager of the site), the Regional, Provincial, Cornmunal authorities as sponsors, 2 Universities with strong interests in hydrobiology and environment, 3 Research Institutions, the National Research Council, ENEA, ENEL, Co-operatives (aquaculture and tourist services).

Salt production, according to the Italian General Directorate of the Ministry of Finance for State Monopolies, is no longer a

Each of these partners will contribute with property, cash, personnel, scientific an teaching services; they will be represented in the Consortium Board and Assembly and will get voting

profitable activity when monopolies are ruled out by the Common European Market and salt can be imported at values which are lower than European production costs. 1shall refer in my case to the Saltworks ofTarquinia, an Etrus-

rights according to contribution and active roles. At the same time a research work is going on at my Department on the (much loved by economists) "Optimal" allocation

can City, North of Rome, with an impressive Etruscan Museum (tombs, statues, fres-


cos, etc.) and saltworks over 170 ha, at present in bad shape. The Salt Pans of Tarquinia, are therefore supposed to decline, like many others, and con verted into


e cy '"

a place supporting other acti vi ties: aquaculture, bird sanetuary, scientific and experimental station both for hydrobiology and agriculture, tourist attraction, vocational training premises and last but not least also a miniature pilot plant for salt production (cultural heritage).

of the complex (170 ha and buildings) between various activities: i.e.: bird sanctuary, aquaculture, scientific laboratory and

The devolution from the Ministry of Finance to another "owner" is something very lengthy and painstaking. Smooth-

related outdoor spaces, vocational training for fish farmers and fishermen. "Optimal", 1 should "translate" from economic jar-

ing out the vested interests of aquaculture entrepreneurs max-

gon, is considered as something achieving will defined goals in

imising profits, the local township maximising employment, various research and scientific organisations (Universities, Na-

terms of efficiency, i. e. minimising resource uses, not necessary money, but time, human and cultural efforts. Goals are not

tional Research Council, 2 nation-wide authorities dealing with

necessarily of quantitative nature, but due to this particular case


they are also of qualitative nature (restoring landscape preserving endangered habitat, keeping alive atrade (salt) tradition and so on.

signing weights to the activities, so that they (the latter) can be evaluated by assigning a comprehensive index to eventually rank all the proposed activities, both themselves and several combinations of them, along with some scenarios proposed by the agency in charge of organising future developments.

On one side therefore there are certain objectives specified within the overall one (of keeping the Saltworks alive and in poor shape) that are maximising employment, maximising revenue (from aquaculture and tourism) providing skilled workers

The weighting is proposed to Policy Makers of various capacity, i.e. the Mayor the Provincial and Regional Ministers,

for the industry, carrying appropriate research activity, reaching a

the Chief Agricultural Officer, University Professors, Trade

fair balance between public support and self provision and so on. On the other side there are the activities, each one with its

Unionists, professionalleaders and so on. The whole exercise, of course, is run by computer software. There are various algorithms which fortunately take care of all

own modular, not-only-economic budget, but also with all the positive and negative descriptive features and the implications,

the possible comparisons of activities when they are evaluated

in terms of scale, ofthe activity that is going to be implemented. Then there are the criteria for evaluating the activities since the

by various agents called in the Decision Making Process. The final outcome, out ofthe computer, will propose the "optimal" allocation of the 170 ha between various activities and

decision making process is not a single criterio n (i.e. financial) activity, but it can be a manifold, as usually is the spectrum of

given the conflicting interests involved in the Decision Making

features considered by Public Authorities, the real decision makers. The criteria therefore provide a sort of grading, marking, as-

Process, the outcome is of the sort of "dissent minimising" between suggestions, instead of "consent maximising". LORENZO


Universitรก della Tuscia ITALIA


As for vegetation, halophyte plants living in saIt areas pre-


vail: Juncus



and Juncus

acutus, Limonium

cancellatum, Tamarix africana and Algae. The large area once occupied by a pond - a large salt marsh that had been originated by the action both of the wind and of the sea - has been recently divided into saIt basins. This intervention increased salinity and destrayed most of the flora and fauna typical ofthe salt pond, starting a degrading pracess. With

Introduction Sardinia is an island rich in ponds and wet coastal areas that from the last century onwards have been subdued to interven-

this "impossible" environment flora had to come to terms. Therefore it is represented only by species at the edge of spe-

tions for productive purposes.

cialisation with leaves transformed in thomy needles or in scales,

Even if drainage here has not been as complete as elsewhere in the coastal areas ofItaly, it has however affected the ecologi-

or crawded in basal rases, strictly adhering to the ground. Many of these plants are calIed "succulents", because they are able to store and to ration their water need, indeed their leaves and

cal system. But these changes can be checked and balanced in arder to alIow a sustainable exploitation. Partly included in the RAMSAR convention and partly ex-

stems look like little swolIen bags. Even fauna shows particular features.

ploited as salinas, these areas set up a remarkable territorial extent, worth to be protected, since they enrich Sardinia and the whole Mediterranean enviranment with their biodiversity. Salinas represent a model of sustainable management of wet areas, that could promote an active protection of natural resources by means of economic activities.

The Sto Caterina Pond The S. Caterina pond even if located on the Sardinian mainland, belongs to the municipality of S. Antioco and represents a very important geologic appendix in arder to understand the natural environment of the S. Antioco island. The pond can be easily reached through crassing the isthmus existing between S. Antioco island and Sardinia; In the '60s the S. Caterina pond has been entrusted to the State Monopoly in arder to be exploited as saltworks; this caused a quick degradation ofthe typical flora. However it is stilI possible to look with delight at countless flamingo colonies while they slowly move in the shalIow waters, at sea-gulIs and, where the bottom is dry, at crowds of kentish plovers running very fast and then stop suddenly. Who would like to get a better knowledge of the nature of these marshes, should drive on to the near vilIage G. Giovanni Suergiu and then, on the right, take the road running southward and reach Porto Pino. On this way the visitar can look at two ponds, Porto Botte and Is Brebeis and enjoy the marvelIous sight of unparalIeled beauty of the long beach at Porto Pino with its sand dunes and very cIear sea, rich in shelIs even of remarkable size. The natural life in this saline environment shows very interesting features.

Localisation of the S. Antioco island (Sardinia)



The customary visitors to the ponds coots and ducks - have disappeared, and have been replaced by those birds that like a high salt degree, such as plovers, avocets, plovers and the marvellous flamingos, the real kings of S. Caterina. Among the crustaceans the Artemia salina has survived; as its name reveals, it can live in waters with a very high salinity degree. It is the flamingos' preferred food. In the canal running along the salinas there are still eels and in the mud live several species of annelids.

The Sant' Antioco pond The salinas of S. Antioco is the main and most relevant sea-salt production

Aerial view of the Salinas of S. Antioco

place in Sardinia under the management ofthe State Monopoly Autonomous Administration (A.A.M.S.). Established at the beginning of the 60's it started to work at

Sustainable development prospects for the salinas of Sant' Antioco

the end of the same decade; it has an annual productive capac-

According to the most recent economic tendencies, it would be advisable to transfer the salinas management to private firms or to a joint consortium set up by private firms and local public

ity of about 200,000 tons of salt, but it produces only 160,000 tons. It covers a total surface of 1,461 hectares; its evaporating


surface is of about 1,269 ha, its cristallising area of about 192 ha with a ratio 7: 1 between the two surfaces.

Indeed the administration bodies of the State Monopoly are likely to be dismissed without being replaced by the Region

The salt plant is located on the eastem shore of the Palmas gulf and plays an important role in the economy ofSant' Antioco,

Sardinia with a similar body. On the contrary, an active and dynamic economic agent, who

not only because the salt is shipped from its harbour, but also because most of the employed staff lives there.

maybe co-operates with local public bodies, could grant a "sustainable" development to the large, wet area located near the

The process of water concentration starts much more southward, in the ponds located near the small bay Porto Pino (stagno

Palmas gulf. Therefore it would be necessary to agree upon an economic plan and a new territorial settlement, centred on the reorganisa-

di Maestrale and stagno di Brebeis), continues in the ponds near the small bay Porto Botte (stagno di Baiocco and stagno di Porto Botte) and in the pond Malurgia, near the salting boxes. It covers a total surface of about 15 Km.

tion ofthe salt production and on the exploitation oftheArtemia salina and Dunaliella salina, of the aquaculture and the eco-

Nowadays the salt is still gathered by a big self-moving machine needing frequent service. In the peak season it is served

logical tourism.

by 90 working units. The scanty yield per hectare registered in this salinas is mainly due to the fact that the necessary works that would have al-

Revalorisation 01 Anemia salina and Dunaliella salina Beyond the phase where the water saltiness reaches values

lowed to introduce a pluriannual salt collection and to reach the maximum productive capacity, have not been completed.

that do not allow any longer a biologic exploitation of species suitable to direct human consumption (fish products as a rule), it would be possible to restore both the Artemia salina and

While describing the present condition of the salinas in Sant' Antioco, we must point out that in the evaporating basins there is anextensive aquacultural activity, managed by a local co-

Dunaliella salina. This kind of activity is strongly dependent on the water pol-

operative association. This is an example ofpossible supplementary activities that the salt work administration could allow.

lution ratio, in the case of S. Antioco salinas no relevant pollution ratio has been ascertained.




Comrnercial fish breeding has been largely experimented, fish species are sorted in basins having different salt content.

In this respect the salinas represent a big landscape resource. Due to their particular natural habitats, rich in rare birds and to

The water basins where first evaporation occurs, are gener-

their typical vegetation, they represent a valuable synthesis between working activity and environmental conservation.

ally used for semiextensive lobster breeding, as proved by experiments that have set up operating criteria, by which an estimated average production of 250 Kg/ha yearly can be reached.

Moreover a rich cultural heritage of historie evidence and archaeological relevance has been preserved. It testifies ancient

Against an hectare reserved to half-extensive aquaculture, at

working techniques, deeply rooted in history, and therefore in culture; they are worthwhile to be recognised and safeguarded.

least 5 hectares must be reserved to extensive aquaculture, in order to allow the same basin to cut down the polluting inci-

In order to share this outstanding heritage to the profit of

dence. In the basins assigned to extensive aquaculture it would be possible to breed fish and clams that would exploit the natu-

everybody, we propose following measures:

ral nourishment contained in the biomass originated in the basins where lobsters are bred. These productions have the ad-

foundation of a museum reserved to salt and its civilisation; revaluation of nature and environment; location of well equipped paths with birds observing places;

vantage to grant a product that can satisfy the demand of a large market, both local and national. The intensive aquaculture has not been taken into considera-

reservation of areas suitable for sport and recreating activitieso

tion because of its incompatibility with salt production. The need to have very frequent water changes, requiring high en-

The complete exploitation ofthe natural resources present in

ergy costs, and the subsequent heavy pollution, could reduce the profitability per hectare of the salinas and spoil the quality of the product.

the wet areas must be carefully checked in order to assure that different operating pattems may be consistent with the envi-

Any future step taken to promote and develop this integra-

ronmental requirements. In this connection it is important to keep in mind that what-

tive economic activity, cannot leave out of consideration the people working on this field, involved in the project.

ever initiative may be taken on this field, it must fit in well with

At first it seems right to convey in this direction the reorganisation of the only enterprise already started by a fishermen co-

interventions already proposed by local bodies and cultural and environmental associations, that playa major role on the envi-

operative in the S. Antioco salinas.

ronmental field and support nature's claims. FRANCO

CAVALLARO Tecnopolis Messina ITALY




diverse industry as well as to increasingly expanding transport and


tourism. Some 20% of coast which cuts into the flysch sediments has retained its natural shape, particularly in the area of the virtually inaccessible cliffs. More than half of this surviving coastal belt has already been protected within the framework of two smaller nature monuments - the underwater nature monument Cape Madona at Piran and the nature monument cape Debeli rtic - and two larger areas: the Nature Reserve Strunjan, which is a constituent part of the Strunjan Landscape Park, and some 650 ha.large salt-pans complex at the mouth of the Dragonja river.


The Slovene coast was known for its salt-pans as early as at the beginning of this century. The most important among them


were the so-called Piran salt-pans , of which only the miniature pans of Strunjan and fairly large Secovlje pans have survived up Slovenia is linked with the Mediterranean with no more than 46.6 Km long coast in the Gulf of Trieste. For a number of

to the present day. The first written records about the Piran saltpans, for which it is not known when they actually began to spring

centuries the picturesque ancient towns of Koper, lzola and Piran along it have been the only urban centres in this area

up, date to the second half of the 13th century from the Piran statute, and it must be said that a lot has been written about their historical, technical, technological, ethnological and linguistic tra-

which, however, has been subjected to an intensive urbanization, particularly in the second half of this century. This narrow

ditions. There have been a number of significant tuming points in the spatial and technological development ofthe salt-pans, the

littoral belt is at present home to some 70.000 inhabitants and

The Secovlje Salt-pans Landscape Park.

Photo: Sergio Gobbo 1984


The great movable windmill pump at the museum of Salt-making.

Pholo: Janez PukSic

last one in 1967, when the production of salt was abandoned in

pan s were proclaimed a 1andscape park. Apart from the pans in encloses the Seca peninsula and four somewhat smaIler areas

the southem part of the Fontanigge salt-pans. This area thus gave way to the workings of nature, so that the pans, which are

which have been due to their botanical and omithological significance given the status of nature reserves. The decree clearly

composed of a number of diverse and more or less saline biotopes forming a closed ecosystem, have become a rich treas-

stipulates the boundaries of the protected area, the boundaries

ury of the world of plants and animals, the sort which cannot be

of the specially protected areas, the conservation regime, basic developmental guidelines, the professional service for the im-

found anywhere else in Slovenia. The botanical significance of the pans can be underlined by the fact that no less than 45 plant species prosper in this area which have been included in the

plementation of the decree, the control over its implementation and penal proceedings. The Piran Municipal Council has passed

Red List on Endangered Plant Species in Slovenia. Some rare vertebrates live in the pans in rather difficult conditions. The

the decree upon the proposal by the Regional Office for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage Piran (which cov-

pans, however, are also a natural fish farm, but they are particu-

ers the are a of aIl three Slovene coastal communes) and in comp1iance with the Natural and Cultural Heritage Act which took effect in 1981.

larly famous as an exceptional omithological locality, known for its numerous species which breed there, its wintering quar-

After its attainment of independence, Slovenia nostrificated

ters and as one ofthe northernmost migratory sites in the Mediterranean. More than 200 bird species occur in the Secovlje

some intemational conventions previously signed by the former Yugoslavia. In October 1992 the Slovene Parliament included, in

salt-pans, and some 90 species breed there permanently.

accordance with Article 2 of the Ramsar Convention, the Secovje saIt-pans on the list of wetIands of intemational importance, in

Due to the exceptionaIly rich natural and cultural heritage as weIl as with a wish to preserve the pans as a characteristic element of the littoral cultural landscape, the Piran Municipal As-

January 1993 they were officiaIly entered in the list of Ramsar sites. With this act the complexity of salt-pans protection attained

sembly passed, in 1989, a decree with which the Secovlje salt-


a new dimension, for it overgrew the local borders - not only municipal but al so national boundaries. (Owing to the

neither by the already outdated Natural and Cultural Heritage

nostrification of the Barcelona Convention, the conservation of other protected areas along the Slovene coast attained new dimensions al wel!.) The Piran Council protected the salt-pans, while

1989. The National Ramsar Cornmittee passed, already in 1994 during the establishing procedure, the resolution that the activi-

Act from 1981 nor by the municipal decree on protection from

ties and solving the conservationist problems should be passed from the municipal to the state leve!. One of the key problems in respect of protection is still unde-

the state of Slovenia assumed, by signing the Convention, fuI! responsibility towards the intemational pub lic. Now the Council as a local cornmunity attempts to get rid of even those responsi-

fined proprietorial status of the Secovlje salt-pans, which were in the previous political systern a social property, managed in the last few decades by Droga Portoroz. In August 1996 the

bilities which were imposed by the conservation decree, while the state administration, awkward by nature, is organizing and preparing itself for new tasks rather slowly. More than two years

Slovene Govemment passed a resolution by which the saltpans became a state property (the administrative procedure for

where thus needed to establish , in April 1996, the Slovenian Ramsar Committee, and the administration is stil! looking for appropriate solutions to secure budgetary means for the imple-

the implementation of this resolution is now under way). The state as a new owner wil! have to stipulate, with a concession-

mentation of the responsibilities assumed with the signing of various conventions. The local authorities, on the other hand, simply

ary contract, a new user and manager of the pans. The question of how to establish new concessionary relations in order

cannot comprehend these new, let us cal! them planetary dimensions of conservation. In the foreground of the conservationist activities in thus stil! the Regional Office for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage Piran which, however, has not been

to secure and protect the conservationist interest is still open, since the management plan for the protected area has stil! not been worked out. Among the first resolutions by the Slovenian Ramsar Cornmittee was the resolution on a quick preparation of the management plan. The state obliged itself that for this

given al! the necessary competences for a effective protection

Giassi channel with the salt-pans houses; The Secovlje Salt-pans Landscape Park.

Photo: Hjalmar DAHM t 995



purpose it will secure, this year, the necessary budgetary means,

channel in the abandoned Fontanigge salt-pans. The Museum of Salt- making encloses two renewed salt-pans houses, their

and the activities for the preparation of the plan are now already under way.

appertaining salt-fields and the Giassi channel, the main channel for the inflow of salt water. One of the museum houses

The most important long-term aim of the salt -pans management is protection and with it preservation ofthe salt-pans. The

presents the old salt-making procedures, while the other contains two salt repositories and two modemly equipped rooms

already enforced municipal decree by wich the Secovlje saltpans were proclaimed a landscape park resulted from the idea of an active protection, wich in tum arose from the cognition

with a kitchen, in which those working in salt-fields can reside

that the basic condition for the rich natural and cultural heritage

as well as those working on research and pedagogical projects. The Museum of Salt-making depicts the ancient procedure of

of the pans and the salt-pans themselves are preserved is a continuation of salt-making, the activity by which this locus was

salt-making in closed production units, the origins of which date to the Middle Ages. The project to renew the third house

in fact created. The doctrine of salt -pans protection is thus ad-

has also been made, in which a kind of Museum of Natural

justed to the strategy of wise use, implemented by the Ramsar Convention and Wetlands Intemational. The professional service is now laying special emphasis on the preservation of the complex and sensitive salt-pants ecosystem as of a wetland and thus on the preservation of its biodiversity. In this sense it will be -()tI11 T,I

necessary to update the proclamation act and bring it in line with the already signed

'11'11/11' {,"Ul;"


tJ/ .r/ra»

rtkw/á '/h/1 ''''''7




convention. It will be necessary, however, to wait for a new conservation act now being prepared by the ministry of Environment and Physical Planning.


/Jta.A l'tlllE )J},'r.lI.,"llLINI.' II}''' ./J'I'flrlllIltfl/orb/l':tlrlfl






~;." ,(,ti.!





The protection operational duties have been in accordance with the current law and the protection regime as stipulated by the decree entrusted

History with emphasis on omithology and sa1t-pans as asaline Ramsar. I 1807 SICCIO e, site is also to be set up. The Museum of Salt-making was set up

to the Regional Office for the Protection of natural and cultural heritage. Within the boundaries of its competence it exercises

by the "Sergej Masera" MaritimeMuseum Piran, the Regional Office for the Protection ofNatural and Cultural Heritage Piran

control over the implementation of the protection regime, its

and, during its first phase, Droga Portoroz. In 1994 the Mu-

engaged in the presentation of the park, it builds public awareness regarding the significance of such protection, and attends, together with the state, to the integration of the protected area

seum stood as candidate for the European EMYA award. The ultimate aim of the arrangement of the museum complex is to tum the visitors of the Museum of Salt making as well as the

into various intemational associations. With the above men-

landscape park into a museum-didactic complex and thus to

tioned decree, for example, we have already succeeded in banning hunting in the area of the landscape park. From 1992 on-

unburden the entire remaining salt-pans ecosystem.

wards we coordinate repairing project of2.6 km long and badly eroded salt-pans front embankrnents which are of vital impor-

BORIS KRIZAN Regional Office for the Protection of Natural and Cultural Heritage Piran SLOVENIA

tance for the physical survival of the pans. Somewhere in the middle the repairs were halted. This happened in 1996 and namely for the following two reasons: we need to solve the


problem of as little as possible disturbing access of mechanization to the other half ofthe ground, as well as the problem ofthe

"Sergej Masera" Maritime Museum Piran SLOVENIA

stopped inflow of the necessary financing means. In the last decade a museum was opened along the Giassi




Though Middle Ages the possessors of salt pans on Pag were mostly the noblemen of Zadar, who were the founders of salt


production on the island. So, the salt manufacturing and trade have become one of the bases of economic prosperity of Zadar

The island Pag on the east coast of the Adriatic sea is one of

through late Middle Ages. Usual possession had been made of about twenty pans connected with supply canals and surrounded with wall. The mar-

the largest Croatian islands, with 285 square kilometers of sur-

ket price of such complex amounted between 500 and 1000

face and 270 kilometers of coast (lt may look a rather small to you, but comparing to most of the other Croatian islands Pag is large). lt is mostly covered with rocky ground, which is used

ducats (from 2 to 4 kilos of gold). Warehousing of salt usually

for sheep pasture, part of it is covered with macchia (dense

be also interesting that through the Middle Ages a several small private churches had been constructed close to salt pans, obviously in purpose to achieve some kind of"heavenly protection"

took place in Pag, where numerous warehouses had been constructed near the coast, mostly by Zadar's noblemen. It might

evergreen underbrush), and partly the small oak forests are preserved. Small agricultural areas are mostly planted with vineyards, and there are some ancient olive-trees on the north -west

to a business so much depending on weather conditions. The importance of Pag bayas the largest complex of salt

part of the island. Two major settlements are small towns of Pag and Novalja, and others are Dinjiska, Povljana, Vlasici, kolan, Metajna and Lun. lmportant agricultural products are famous Pag cheese, vine and lamb meat. The cottage industry

pans on the east coast ofthe Adriatic sea was so big that through the whole Middle Ages they have been the cause for struggles between Zadar's noblemen, who were the possessors of the major part of salt pans, Paghesians, who wanted political and

is producing famous Pag laces. Through whole history, until nowadays, the special place in economy of the island Pag has the salt production.

economical independence and autonomy, and Venetian Republic, which had ambition to control the whole salt production on Adriatic sea. Finally, at the beginning of the fifteenth century, when Venetian Republic succeeded to bring under its govern-

lt's a traditional activity that has been existing on Pag for almost thousand years now. In fact, the beginnings of economic prosperity of the island and origin of town Pag connected with

ment the whole Dalmatia, one of the first acts was to destroy all the salt pans. Only those in Pag bay remained in function, partly

beginnings of exploiting of natural suitable shallowly cove inside closed bay (so-called "Valle di Pago") for salt manufactur-

modernized, and have become one of the most important sources of profit for the Republic. To prevent any kind of illegal trade with salt the Republic of Venice at the middle of the fifteenth century initialized and supported the foundation of new town of Pag, placed at the entrance of salt bay (so called "Valle di saline"), where it was possible to control all the ships that were going out of bay. Only from Pag salt pan s the Republic had income of 60 to 80, or even 150 thousands ducats on year (it is about 200 to 500 kilos of gold), which made approximately ten percent of the whole state income. Just for illustration, the famous Palazzo Ducale (Doge palace) in Venice might had cost about half a million ducats (less than ten years profit from Pag salt pans). Nowadays, when salt is so cheep, these facts are hard to believe, but the truth is that richness and splendidness ofVenice is in considerable part the result of trading with salt, most of it coming from Pag salt pans. The system of old salt pans that were placed at the coast of

ing. Namely, the old town of Pag have grown from a small village near salt pans through the twelfth and thirteenth century, and almost whole economic activity of its habitants has

bay stood until the beginning of the nineteenth century, when Austrian government overtook them as state monopoly, enlarged

been connected to salt manufacturing and trade.

the pans and consolidate them in united complex. The salt pro-



duction on Pag have continued through the nineteenth and twentieth century, and the salt pan s were modernized once again after the Second World War.

On such possibility warns the case of small town ofNin nearby Zadar, where local authorities wishes to change the area of salt pans (which also have traditions from Middle Ages) into new

Even today the salt from Pag is afine product ofhigh quality,

industrial zone, in spite of their historical, cultural and ecologi-

but the new salt factory, built up about twenty years ago, in now using modern industrial process of salt production, and the

cal value. The struggle for salvation ofNin salt pans, that is immedi-

old salt pans are out of function. Unfortunately, these remains of traditional salt production

ately ahead of us, is at the same time the struggle for salvation those on island Pag and elsewhere in Croatia. Surely, the

are not officially protected as cultural or historical value, nor as environmental value. Their only worth is that they are remind-

first step must be the registration of those areas as cultural and historical zones, so that they come under protection of

ing us of times when the salt production on Pag had much more

the law. But more important from formal law protection is rising the consciousness of their value at the local popula-

importance than today, embellishing the landscape and as a bird shelter. But the experience learns us that all of that is not enough to preserve these valuable remains of millenarian human activ-

tion. 1 sincerely hope that possible achievements of this conference, and their echoes in our country, could be a contri bu-

ity in conditions of rapidly development of the island stimu-

tion to that aim.

lated by new dominant economic activity - tourism. It seems to me that it is only the question oftime when someone will come to idea to use this area for some new purpose, so that instead of making the area of Pag salt pans a protected zone of natural, historical and cultural values, it may be just destroyed.

EMILHILJE Faculty o/ Philosophy in Zadar Zadar CROATIA



the people of Ibiza, only retaining domain and j urisdiction over


the pools. This established an interesting system of distributing and handling saltworks, with forrnulae that still survive today. The 16th century saw the conquest of the Baltic markets, due to the growing demand by the coastal countries of Northem Europe which, in tum, carne about beca use of general increase in trade and because of the boom in the curing industry. This was the golden age of the Ibiza salt workings. By the mid 18th


century, salt production was up to 30,000 tons. It is hardly surprising., therefore, that a Catalan author wrote almost five centuries ago: "Ivissa is the salt cellar o/ the world'.

"Ses Salines" are historie salt pans, situated in the south of the island of Ibiza and in the north of the island of Forrnentera. Salt workings on these sites date back to Phoenician and

1871 marks the beginning of the current stage in the history of the Ibizan saltworks, when the State sold them to a private company. The saltworks were reformed and improved some fif-

Carthaginian times and the salt industry has operated since then, practically without interruption. Thus, we are talking about artificial eco-systems that have been manipulated continuously

teen years later, which led to increased production. It was these reforrns that gave the saltworks there current lay-out. After the

by man, for many centuries.

second world war, sea salt production throughout the Mediterranean went into decline. But, one of the production centres

Pliny and Strabo made a special mention of Ibiza in their description of the different salt-working settlements that existed throughout the Mediterranean basin in ancient times, add-

that was not affected was the saltworks of Ibiza. Salt exports to the North of Europe, for the curing industry (basically for cur-

ing that it was one of main centres for processing valuable garum.

ing cod), have always managed to maintain commercial confidence in the famous Ibizan salt. This reputation has always been

In 1261, Princes James and Guillem de Montgri granted the Municipality ofIbiza the rights to the income derived from salt

founded on excellent quality and centuries old trading relations. The saltworks of Ibiza and Forrnentera currently represent a

production. The two Lords gave all rights over the saltworks to

genuine expression of what the World Heritage Centre classes as Cultural Landscape. The grid system of the saltworks, based on the dykes between pools, is a model of human intervention that is of extraordinary scenic interest. In recent years it has proved to be first-class cultural and tourist resource. Even individually, there are many interesting elements from a heritage point of view: old, animal-driven water wheels and elevators, salt warehouse, water circulation system with its inlets and mouths, traditional windmills, the wheelhouses of old fishing boats, watchtowers, wells and archaeological sites. The importance of the Ibiza-Forrnentera saltworks also lies in its diversity and in the fact that it is a perfect laboratory for conserving, studying and improving habitats of this kind.

The natural environment and the saltworks The salt pans are located on either side of the Els Freus channel that runs between Ibiza and Forrnentera. Altogether, they cover an area of approximately 435 ha., more than 70% of which are on the island of Ibiza. The salt pans of Ibiza are situated on what were once coastal lagoons that have be en adapted to salt production and used since the times of Carthage. The salt pans of Forrnentera are located around two coastal lagoons called Estany Pudent and Estany des Peix. The forrner

Saltworks oflbiza: I Collection, 2 Condenser ponds,3 Evaporation ponds, 4 Crystallizers y S Ring canal


Coastal communities Himantopus

Salt marshes





(Kentishplover) /-

I Evaporation


I Evaporation


ponds I

I Crystallizers


"Es Colodar" salt pans. Transverse section.

is a genuine lagoon, only connected to the sea via small, artifi-

ety of species as they are subjected to great variations in salinity and water level. Here, we find brackish water vegetation,

cial canals, that holds a body ofhyper -saline water. The saltworks are to the east of Estany Pudent, separated from the sea by dunes

sea water, or slightly salty water, vegetation ÂŤ6 BĂŠ) and hyper0

and spits. The lagoon, formerly known as the Flamingo Lagoon, is still of great interest as a breeding ground and sanctu-

saline water vegetation. With respect to the fauna, the salt pans and the surroundings are not just important for their bird population. The area is of

ary for birds. Further south, Estany des Peix covers an area of 1.2 km',

great interest, due to the many endemic species of different groups that live here, especially coleopterans (16 endemic spe-

whose waters do not reach 4 m in depth in the centre. This is a naturallagoon with a 50 m-wide and 1 m-deep mouth that con-

cies) and hymenopterans. Despite the fact the aquatic wild-life ofthe salt-marsh pools and channels has not been greatly stud-

nects it with the sea. The remains of the ancient Estanyets saltworks are to be found within the lagoon. According to local tradition, these date back to Roman times. This whole area has

ied, several interesting species have been reported, including: Nitogra lacustris, Cothurnia collaris andMalicyclops neglectus

been used for different purposes throughout its history. Apart from acting as a refuge for small boats, we can also find a large

in salt and brackish-water habitats and Fabrea salina ,which is found in hyper-saline pools along with Artemia salina, the tra-

number of semi-submerged dykes, the remains ofthe fish farms

ditional symbol of the saltworks. Furthermore, in pools and channels with salinity similar to

that have been in operation since ancient times. Apart from its links with the salt industry, the Ibiza-

the sea, there are many different kinds of marine invertebrates,

Formentera Salt pan s system constitutes an integral ecological and landscape unit. The different environments that make up

mainly annelids, molluscs and crustaceans, and a large stock of fish that attract a population of cormorants, eran es, ospreys and

the area are inter-connected geographically, forming a natural entity of spectacular beauty and with characteristics of its own. One of the most interesting aspects of the Ses Salines system is

king fishers. The variety of habitats and the fact that the pools make an excellent sanctuary, have led to birds being the largest group of

the enormous variety of salt marsh types and habitats that can be seen in a relatively small area.

vertebrates throughout the whole area of the salt pans, with a total of 205 species over the year. The most interesting ones are obviously the species of water fowl, inc1uding some breeding

The area of the salt pan s mentioned, inc1uding the surround-


ing system of lagoons, constitutes what are practically the only wetlands of the islands of Ibiza and Formentera, certainly the

Administrative and protection aspects

largest. Although the pools are of enormous ornithological importance, the variety of habitats that exist (areas of salt water,

The natural and scenic value of the salt lagoons is reflected in the legislation that protects the area, despite pressures on the

hyper-saline waters and brackish waters) would admit a slight increase in the diversity of the environment.

local authorities to grant planning permission up until fairly recently. The most important conservation legislation inc1udes:

Within the environment of the salt pans, there are four main groups of vegetation that are of special interest: Dune vegetation, Coastal vegetation, Brine basin and brackish water veg-

The Balearic Government's Natural Spaces Act The area is c1assified in accordance with Artic1e 4 of the 79/

etation and Communities of aquatic vegetation that inhabit salt pans and channels. The latter group is made up of a great vari-

409/CEE Directive and as a Special Bird Sanctuary (SBS). The reasoning behind this classification is based on the fact


• Ses Salines P.O.R.N.

I Sa Sal Rossa I

Plan). Independently from all the environmental protection legislation, two years ago, a land



use plan was drawn up which, for the first time, recognises salt extraction and other compatible


uses as the real driving force for conserving these habitats. The Plan explains the value of

I Es Cavalle! I


the salt pans in more detail, it zones the area

\ -,



I _


- -

\ \'--------'








<, _

into different levels of protection and it analyses different uses that could promote or influ-





ence conservation, especially: - The salt industry as a determining factor in the configuration

of the different habitats that

exist in the area. Salt production is done by a single company (IBIFOR). Most of the production now goes to the Faroe Islands for preserv-




I Salinas Marroig I




I Es!anye!s I

(Natural Resources



ing codo - Sea harvesting has been practised along side the salt industry, since pre-historic times in Estany Pudent. - Tourism, with a flow of more than a million visitors ayear to the area and its surrounding.


/ I L-

Most of the tourists come in the short summer season of just over three months. - Agriculture, the lands around the salt pan s

I Es!any des Pelx I

are farmed and one of the features of this agri-

Protection status. Ses Salines - [biza and Formentera

culture is that crops often merge with the nathat there are breeding colonies of black-winged

tive vegetation.


New marine crops, such as the production of algae.

(Himantopus himantopus), Audouin's gulls (Larus audouiniiy; crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) and the winter population of black-necked grebes (Podiceps nigricollis). It is a RAMSAR site. It appears on the 1993 Ramsar List as

The Proposal ofthe Natural Resources Plan

"Salinas de Ibiza y Formentera".

an integral view of the area for the first time. It is an initiative

The Ses Salines Natural Resources Plan (1995) established

Bracldsb ponds communilies Mind tómmunlty


sílty soil

Sált marshes

HímanlopliS hlma¡jIiJ[iu.r

Estany Pudent. Transverse section.


L mársbes

aimed at providing a rational enjoyment of the zone and, at the same time, avoid the dispersion of visitors that is generated by the ad hoc network. Access to the area of the pools would have to be organised so as to avoid disturbing the bird-life and salt production as far as possible. The Plan is in favour of encouraging orthogonal routes on the edge of the flooded area and of eliminating trails around the perimeter. It also recornmends building small observatories. Restore the historie salt train as a means oftransport for visitors, the rail-bed and parts of the track still remain. Apart from being a tourist attraction, this solution would eliminate indiscriminate vehicle traffic from

The historical salt train in the salinas of Ibiza.

the whole salt pans road network. that, together with different sectorial work and projects that have been carried out, can lay the foundations for a genuine programme for the sustainable use of the resources of these an-

Water management also represents a large part of the proposal: In Forrnentera, the traditional management ofEstany Pudent

cient Mediterranean salt workings. The Plan recognises the fundamental role of the salt industry in conserving aquatic eco-

in the high sea son of salt production, supplied and renewed 4 Hm3 of sea water for the lagoon per year. Current propos-

systems in their current state and proposes a prograrnme of sustainable development.

als suggest that it would be possible to restore the water flow, based only on the combined action of passive systems and windmills. Maintaining and monitoring water quality throughout the

Basis for a sustainable development programme for Ses Salines With the exception of the unfortunate attempts to establish

area of the salt pans is not just essential from a conservation standpoint, it would also improve the quality of the

unsuitable tourist resorts, the Salt Pans Planning Document

salt, a point that is particularly important at a time when

considers that both tourism and the traditional industries are compatible with conservation objectives, and considers that new industries, such as the production of algae, have potential.

product quality is becoming vital. Maintain the traditional drainage network and the network

The existing heritage is more than sufficient for establishing an important cultural and eco-tourism industry. New, sustainable tourist products could be offered, based on the potential of the salt pans landscape. Support infrastructure for this kind of action would be provided by the many elements that already exist in the area, which would, moreover, channel the current scattered tourist activities. The Plan proposes: creating a salt museum and aSes Salines visitors centre in the village ofSa Canal (Ibiza). Visitors centres would channel the flows ofvisitors to the area and could plan thematic routes in the wetlands area. In Forrnentera, the visitors centre is planned for the abandoned saltworks of Ferrer. The proposal also include introducing algae production. Sightseeing would be based on restoring heritage sites in areas of low impact but with spectacular landscapes. Design, establish and sign post a basic network of trails,

Saltworks ofFonnentera:


1 Collection, 2 Condenser ponds, 3 Evaporation ponds, 4 Crystallizers y 5 Ring canal

Ses Salines - Ibiza and Fonnentera

Adjust flooding levels to the needs of the bird life of the of saltworks channels, preventing them from becoming silted up and collapsing.

area, especially at harvest time when accumulator activity is reduced. CIPRlANO



Environmental restoration actions:

LUENGO lnsula


Create artificial islets to enhance wild-life resources. Restore brine pool vegetation in areas of dry land and along the edges of pools.



Re-introduction of species. The proposed programme supports the re-introduction of breeding species such as the flamenco and the osprey, especially in the area of Estany Pudent. Improvements: Rebuilding traditional stone dykes between pools. This is more important in the area of the accumulators and concentrators. Foster screening actions, using vegetation to isolate bordering roads and housing estates. Optimise the distribution nesting grounds for birds, adapting the areas of minimum conflict.

Ibiza saltworks functioning scheme



and was the reason for creating most of the salt pans along the


East coast ofLanzarote and for extending the famous Salinas de Janubio (Janubio Salt Pans), the largest and most spectacular salt pans in the Canary Islands. The enormous variation in the coastline of the Islands and the ingenuity of the local population have generated a variety of types of salt works that can be divided into four, well-defined models:

The Canary Islands salt pans The native inhabitants of the islands were known to have harvested salt from coastal pools. The original system developed over time into one of the most curious models of primitive salt pans anywhere, an example of which still survives on the coast of Ba単aderos (Gran Canaria). There are also examples that have clearly been based on the Mediterranean model, along the lines ofthe ones that can still be found on the Lebanese coast. The Salinas del Rio - Rio Salt Pans - (Lanzarote) are a prime example of these. Reports of these salt pans go back to the earIy 14th century and they stiII form a beautiful landscape and a first -class bird sanctuary. There have been two clear periods of expansion in the

Localisation of the salinas included in the recuperation project.

contemporary Canary Island salt pans: the first is Iinked to Barbary fishing, which led to the creation of most of the salt

The primitive rock salt pan laid out in a circular pattem that

pans along the South East coast of Gran Canaria at the beginning of the 18th century. The other period of expansion, in the

is typical of Gran Canaria. The Ba単aderos salt pans, a genuine living fossil, are the only surviving example of this

20th century, was closely linked to the curing/salting industry

kind of salt pans.

Salinas of Fuencaliente (La Palma)

Photo: Alberto LUENGO


Rf(l.ft.lACĂ&#x201C;N DE tAl ~



l ~!i)IIIE'>DUCft IClO\

Integral recuperation project of the Salinas de Janubio Natural Area

Photo: Alberto LUENGO. Cipriano MARĂ­N

The old lime mortar salt pans, to be found on the islands of

smaller and more intensive. The salt is harvested by hand ten to

El Hierro and La Palma. These have small crystallising pans. The old mud salt pans, with a single crystallising pan, to be found in Lanzarote, Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

fifteen times ayear, between May and October, producing a fine-grain, high-quality, natural table salt. It will take more than just maintaining these works in operation to tum the tide of decline, they need the support of tourist

The new mud salt pans, lined with a stone compound. This design originated in Lanzarote and was later exported to

and cultural activities to supplement production if they want to

Fuerteventura, Tenerife and La Palma.

recapture some of their forrner splendour.

New refrigeration technology, along with the decline of the curing industry associated with the Saharan bank fishing grounds, improved transport and the effects tourism has had on pattems of land use on the coast and the work force have all plunged the Canary Island salt industry into an inexorable process of depression. Of nearly sixty salt works that used to exist in the Canary Islands, only nine continue to operate, although many of the other salt pans survive as abandoned sites of great scenic, natural and architectural interest that could be maintained and recovered. Unlike the extensive salt works of the mainland, with their large crystallising pans in which the salt is harvested once ayear, the salt works ofthe Canary Islands are much

A picture of the 70's showing the salinas of Arrecife, nowadays abandoned


Canary Island salt pans recovery plan

5. Boca Cangrejo and La Florida salinas, in the East of Gran

In 1990, the Ministry of the Environment of the Regional Canary Island Government sponsored an initiative, as part of

Canaria 6. TenefĂŠ, in the South-East of Gran Canaria

the E.U.'s Regis programme, to address the Recovery of the Canary Island Salt Pans, based on four main points:

7. Rio Salinas, in the North ofLanzarote 8. Janubio salinas, on the West coast of Lanzarote

Definition of an environmental and scenic conservation strat-

9. El Carmen, in Fuerteventura. Although the amount of work to be done varies from one salt

egy Recovery of the salinas heritage

pan to another, our experience and results to date suggest a brighter future for the Canary Island salt industry.

Support for the salt industry; marketing and new products Supplement salt production with tourist, cultural and envi-

In some cases, recovery has involved extending existing salt pans, such as Fuencaliente in La Palma, whereas, in others,

ronmental products.

complete restoration has been necessary, the El Carmen salt pans of Fuerteventura. Because oftheir size, only 10% ofthe Janubio salt pans have been re-built. This has highlighted the urgent need to rescue

One of the criteria for recovering the salt pans is the need to recover unique examples of salt work models, as well as maintaining the salt pans in operation.

one of the most curious salt works in the world, as well as being one of the most striking landscapes of the island of Lanzarote. Another important point that should be remembered is that the

The programme covers the following salinas in the Islands: l. Fuencaliente, in the island of La Palma 2. Los Cancajos, in the island of La Palma

salt pans are practically the only coastal wetlands that remain in the Canaries, a fact that greatly enhances their natural value.

3. La Punta, in the island of El Hierro 4. BaĂąaderos, in Gran Canaria

The aim of the second line of action, Support for the Salt Industry, is to rescue Canary Island salt as a trade mark, as well

Salinas del Carmen, restored (Fuerteventura)

Photo: Alberto LUENGO


as to provide support for salt companies, in order to give the product an image of quality. To achieve this end, the following actions were undertaken:

Fuencaliente La Palma

Create the Association of Salt Producers of the Canary Islands Establish a label for the salt Buy packing machinery


Cesar Manrique created a Iogp and a design for a new bag that mentions the origin of the salt.

de Fuencaliente

A marketing campaign to win a share of the Canary Island market

SAL de Canarias

Improvements to the salt warehouse, in order to make packing easier

New promotion label ofthe Canary Islands' natural salt, in the framework of the Salinas Project.

The finalline of action; to generate new prospects for the salt industry by creating tourist, cultural and environmental facilities for enjoying the salt pan habitat; has only been started in

500 gr.

SAL .Marina refinada 100%

Pep Plรก design

the El Carmen salt pans in Fuerteventura, although the Janubio salt pans offer the possibility of establishing a tourist centre -

been tried out in the salt pan s of the Spanish Mediterranean coast. These possibilities require commitment and leadership

CASA DE LA SAL (SALT MUSEUM) - as an exhibition ofthe rich salt heritage of the Canary Islands.

from enterprising salt producers.

~ There are also other potential uses for the salt pans that could



Insula Islas Canarias SPAIN

supplement salt production, such as fish/shell fish farming or producing Beta-carotene fromDimaliella salina algae, that have

Constructive scheme of crystallisers in the Canary Islands' salinas


are known as "sea swallows", such as the cornmon tem (Sterna


hirundo) and the lesser tem (Sterna albifrons). During the winter, there<r'e large colonies of anatidae, mainly shovelers (Anas


clypeata), red crested pochards (Netta rufina), cornmon pochards (Aytha ferina) and green-winged teals (Anas crecca). These wetlands, along with El Hondo, shelter 80% of the European marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris) population, classi-

These pools are a lagoon and spit type wetland area that is part of what used to be a much larger swamp on the flood plain of the left bank of the River Segura. Nowadays, mainly due to

fied throughout Europe as an "endangered species". The flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) deserves a special mention. It is the symbolic bird of the park, living in the salt pans habitat throughout the year and reaching colonies of up to

the actions of man, the area is divided into two large areas of wetlands: El Hondo de Elche and Santa Pola, with an area of

8,000 specimens.

brine pools between the two. The area is fed by a mixed water supply; it receives subsurface fresh water from further inland and salt water that en-


ters through the channels that connect the lagoon with the sea.

Salt production in the area started at the end of the 19th century;

The part that is permanently under water is limited to the area of the saltworks, whereas the rest of the area suffers sporadic

the Bonmati Saltworks started production in 1890, followed shortly afterwards by the Brac del Port Saltworks, which is currently the largest. Preliminary work was necessary on the salt

The salt workings are of the "extensive mud saltem" type.

and variable flooding. The typical vegetation is salt water, made up of species whose

pools in order to make them suitable for salt production. This

distribution depends on the presence of water and the degree of salinity. At one end ofthe scale, one finds communities ofhyper-

consisted of creating a series of ponds, whose bottoms and edges were plugged with clay to make them waterproof. Canals were

saline annual saltworts and salt grass, which gradually give way to perennial saltworts, species of sea lavender and many other

then opened to connect them with the sea, others, around the perimeter, to collect the fresh water coming from inland, and

species as salinity and humidity decrease. Some of these species are endemic (Limonium santapolense, etc.) and of great bio-geographic interest. Further inland, in the fresh-water zone,

service canals in the salt ponds. The wetlands are traditional hunting and fishing grounds, sports that are still practised here. Hunting was regulated in 1950 and definitive fishing regulations are still pending. Since

one fmds hydrophilic communities of reeds and rushes making their contribution to the botanical diversity of the area. The largest group of fauna to be found in the area is birds. The wetlands provide sanctuary to the largest colonies of wading birds in the whole Autonomous Community of Valencia during the migration and winter seasons. These include the avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta), the black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), several species of sandpipers, the kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus), the common redshank (Tringa totanus) and representatives of what

Tamarit Tower, an emblematic place in the salinas.


Photo: Conselleria de Medio Ambiente,Generalilat


the wetlands were declared a protected area, teaching and conservation activities are also carried out. Another recent activity

was sold has become the property ofthe Generalitat Valenciana

is sea harvesting, devoted mainty to breeding shrimps and prawns.

didactic purposes.

(the Valencia Regional Govemment) that intends to use it for

There are currently two active saltworks operating in the wetlands: Brac del Port and Bonmati. A third saltworks, MĂşrtulas

Brac del Port This is another private saltworks, founded in 1896. It operated as a family business until 1972, when it became a trading company (Salinas del Brac del Port S.A.) This is a family busi-

Saltworks, was in operation until 1979.

ness that has maintained direct control over the salt workings

Bonmati Saltworks

from one generation to another. The company currently has a staff of 40-50 employees. With an area of950 ha. the saltworks

Current situation and system of management

Located in the south ofthe wetlands, up unti11906, they were known as the El Pinet Saltworks. This is a private operation

is one of the major land owners of the Salinas de Santa Pola Park (38% of the total area) The works have 600 concentrators and 75 crystallising ponds, all

that was leased to the Torrevieja Saltworks company in 1958.

connected by a highly complex irrigation system with countless intermediate pumping stations. Brac del Port has an estimated an-

The facilities are made up of 177 concentrators and 30 crystallising tanks and production is between 30,000 and 50,000 metric tonnes ayear, mainly for industrial use (purifiers, the

nual production of around 100,000 metric tonnes, most of which is for human consumption (curing, table salt, seasoning, etc.) and a

aluminium industry, etc.). Part of the production is exported, from Puerto de Torrevieja, to Northem Europe for salting roads

lesser proportion for industry (tablets for dish-washers, etc.). In 1972, the company built Polasa S.A., a mini salt processing plant.

and a small portion is used for human consumption (table salt, seasoning, etc.). The salt work now employs 8-10 workers. Bonmati is currently in economic decline and one third of

The current owners of the saltworks have always shown concem about the area's natural and cultural values; they built a

the operation was sold some five years ago. Part ofthe land that


Aerial view of the Salinas. Delimitation of the protected area.



blocks are cut out, always leaving a mother or base layer. Har-

hermitage on their lands to promote a pilgrimage and started to resto re the Torre Tamarit (Tamarit Tower). Múrtulas Saltworks

~ ~

They be long to Salinera Española S.A. (Spanish Saltworks Ltd.) and were opened in 1924. They traded up until1979 and covered an area of 384 ha. Nowadays, the installations are totally abandoned and are in a state of neglect as no maintenance work has been earried out. The facilities that remain

vesters are used to lift the slabs of salt onto the conveyor belt that loads them into tip cars to be


taken to the washers. The salt is washed with concentrated water and is auto-















of these former saltworks are the ponds, that are currently fed by fresh water; the water inlet from the sea being





~(9 ~('



-lil ~l:tl


ellco - Phoe~\c;

closed. All the machinery that used to be used in salt production is scattered around the landseape, but the Min-


spun dry before being

stacked for storage. In the Bonmati saltworks, the latter two processes are not carried out; the salt is stacked without being washed or dried, and it is sold as rough salt. Two months after stacking the salt, it is ground to the exact size neces-

sary for whatever purpose the salt is going to be used foro Traditional methods are virtually extinct

in the saltworks, the beast of burden and the traditional implements of the salt industry have been replaced by fossil fuels and modem machinery. Modem machinery espe-

istry of the Environment (of the regional govemment) intends to restore it for educational purposes.

cially, has increased production notably, but, on the other hand, it has also led to a fall in manning levels, a loss of traditional

System of production

cultural values and environmental degradation.

In these saltworks, the ponds are laid out in cascade to enhance gravity driven water circulation. The uppermost ponds

Although economic development is partially to blame for this trend, there are also other practises that can not be wholly justi-

are called pre-concentrators and "concentrators", or "heaters".

fied and could be done in the traditional manner. Here we are referring to using cement to line ponds. These require constant

The brine solution in the final "heater" can reach concentrations of 300 to 325 gmll. The crystallising tanks are at the low-

maintenance to repair the wear and tear caused by the easterly

est point of the circuit. The salt is precipitated in these tanks over a period of 100 - 120 days, at arate of 1 mmlday. There are

winds and the actions of Fulica atra, but clay could still be used for their construction and re-construction.

6 or 8 heater tanks per crystallising tank, which clearly shows the efficiency of the system (the normal ratio is 9: 1 or 10: 1).

Interesting initiatives and measures

All the tanks are above the level of the water table to prevent Production. For the moment, production methods continue

fresh water from seeping in. There is also a series of canals for catching the seawater that is pumped in, and for circulating the

to be compatible with conservation. The limits to salt production are dependent on economic and industrial factors rather

water between tanks, which also uses pumps sometimes. There is a species of crustacean (Artemia salina) that lives in

than on environmentallegislation.

The Brac del Port operation

has been gradually modemised and production has increased, which has meant that the environment is an increasingly man-

the pre-heaters and heaters and it forms the basic diet of the flamingos of the area. The excrement form the birds, in tum, enrich the salts with minerals. Another important point viz a viz compatibility with conservation objectives, is the permanent circulation of water throughout the circuit, even in winter. Win-

made one, although the system is basically the same. Conservation. Aid is prograrnmed for owners to carry out conservation work in the fresh-water tanks and canal s that criss-

ter circulation is slower due to the faet that evaporation conditions are not as good in winter. Harvesting of the salt starts in late July, and goes through to November. Specialised machinery is used to empty the crystal-

cross the park, such as: "mondas" (cleaning canals by hand or with a shovel), "desbardoma" (cleaning ditches), restoring the edges of ponds with clay, ete.

lising tanks. First of all, rotavators are used to break up the

Furthermore, there is a plan to convert the abandoned Bonmati

crust of salt, which is between 12 cm and 15 cm thick, and

saltworks into a site for eco-tourism and educational purposes.


Aerial view from the sea af the Salinas of Santa Pala.

Photo: Conselleria de Medio Ambiente,Generalitat

Information and awareness actions


Apart from these activities, there is also an annual subsidy

Identification Salinas de Santa Pola In the municipal boroughs ofSanta PoIa and Elche (Alicante) Area o Protected area: 2,496.74 ha. o Area of production: Brac del Port Saltworks: 850 ha; Bonmati or El Pinet Saltworks: 492 ha. Status o Protected Natural Space of the Valencia Autonomous Community since the 12th ofDecember 1988. Currently a Nature Park (11/94, 27th of December, 1994) o Planning instruments: Use and Management Guidelines Prograrnme (PRUG in Spanish) approved on the 13th ofSeptember 1994. o Ramsar Convention Site of intemational importance since 1990. o Special Bird Sanctuary (Directive 409/1979 CEE) since 1991.

order granted to the local authorities of the area to pro mote environmental education activities. The alteration work on the nature reserve's reception, information and interpretation cen-

We would like to thank the following people for their help in drafting this work: Dr. María José Viñals, of SEHUMED, Mr.

Most information and awareness programmes are initiatives of the Consellería de Medio Ambiente of the Generalitat Valenciana (the Ministry of the Environment of the Valencia Regional Govemment), which has elaborated an information, dissemination and awareness programme for conserving the wetlands. The prograrnme inc1udes: o

o o

School visits, to be carried out daily, throughout the school year. Printed information (leaflets, posters, etc.). Designing itineraries for visitors (with a monitor for groups of lOor more). Visits to the two active saltworks will soon be inc1uded in the itinerary.

tre (for seminars, conferences, audio-visual presentations, etc.)

Miguel Cuervo, owner of the Brac del Port Saltworks, and

is also in their final stages. This will house a permanent exhibition dealing with salt production and the important role it plays

Messrs. Carlos Pérez and Alfredo Ruiz, managers ofthe Bonmati Saltworks.

in the conservation of wetlands in general and particularly in the Santa Pola wetlands.





During these three decades the Salt Field has suffered consistently a continued degradation of its environment, fact that has been enhanced by the time, resulting in the acoumulation of garbage in the lake and ponds. Not only environmentally speaking but more in a global concept: also ecologically speaking the cease of activity of the Salt Field has severely affected the cycle of water renovation in the




lake therefore steeply increasing its salinity. In the past it was cornmon to see a great variety of bird life, including Flamingos, and to find many fish species in the lake.


In the last decade this cycle was broken due to the high salinity The Formentera Salt Field located in the north east of Formentera Island, Balearic Islands State (Spain), covers an area of approximately 800,000 square meters which includes a sea

of its waters. Absolutely no more fish and scarce bird life is presently found in the lake. In the other hand, the lake is presently plenty of microbacteria and mosquitoes due to the non

water lake (Estany Pudent), evaporators area and salt ponds area.

renovation of its waters, causing bad smell and odours.

Formentera Salt Field ceased the production of salt around 1967, lacking of economical feasibility. The reasons were

In addition, the salinisation of the lake is now entering already in its hyper stage. During the last decade the salinity of the lake waters remained constant at a level of7 째 B (sea water

mainly the high transportation costs of salt to consumption areas and the continued plunging of salt prices in the markets, trend which still continues up till today.

salinity is 3째 B). In 1995 we recorded 7 째B, in 1996 increased 7 to 7.5 째B and in 1997 we are recording levels ranging from 8 to

Ponds of (he abandoned salinas


A portion ofthe coast near the Salinas ofFormentera

9째B in comparison to the same periods of previous years. The warming up ofthe climate and the significant reduction ofrains

Dunal, show interest on the reddish coloration of the salt crystallisers in the Mediterranean salt fields that he knew. He re-

have undoubtedly hypersalinisation.

affected the lake now in the start of its

alised that surprisingly the red colour ofbrine waters happened in salt fields where there was no Artemia Salina (up till today it is a

Hypersalinisation would involve numerous problems in ad-

cornmon thought to consider mainly Artemia Salina as the re-

dition to the existing ones in the lake, it would affect the microclimate of the island in a whole. On the last stages of hypersalinisation it usually becomes irreversible resulting on

sponsible for the red coloration of crystallisers). When Dunal examined the samples of red brine under microscope, he saw that they teemed with red-coloured, biflagellate cells of a type which

the death of surrounding trees, plants and vegetation, migration

he identified as Haematococcus because they resembled similar

of wild life and transforming the soil into complete sterile land. lt is a pity that in many wetlands around the World

alga cells found in red snow and rainwater ponds. However, when a later scientist, Teodorescu, closely examined similar cells from

hypersalinisation is only detected on its last stages when the evident signals are easily seen by human eye and often it is too

salt ponds in Rumania, he noted that, unlike those of Haematococcus, they lacked cell walls, so he gave them a new generic name,Dunaliella, in honour ofthe French scientist Duna!.

late to provide solution then becoming irreversible.

The absence of a cell wall is virtually the only feature whereby

Our company, Acuicultura Balear, is specialised in the production ofbrine algae (microscopic algae that live in saturated waters), namely the one to produce in Formentera Salt Field is

Dunaliella is distinguished from unicellular, biflagellate algae

Dunaliella Salina algae. The scientific records ofthe brine algae Dunaliella Salina date

such as Chlamydomonas and Haematococcus. Dunaliella Salina is a unicellular algae characteristic of the salt production cyc1e in almost every salt field in the World, it

from one hundred and fifty years ago when the French engineer,

only lives under high graduation of saturated brine. This is due


to its lack of cell wall, needing the osmotic pressure that high saturated brine provides in order to live. Its propagation in lower concentration waters such as sea water

ing the defences of the body and slows down the ageing and degradation of cells due to its effects over the free radicals. It is also a very important natural additive (citric taste Iike orange)

or salty lakes is impossible as the cell would automatically burst when entering into contact with such low saturated media. There-

and colorant (index E 1% / 1cm

fore, it is a natural culture for the salt field ponds as its existence naturally forms part of the salt production process.

Mecanicas JSerra (Serra Salt Machinery) World leading cornpany in the construction of salt fields and salt machinery, covering all salt treatment steps from harvesting of salt till its packing, including the washing and upgrading of salt, its centrĂ­fuga-

Dunaliella Salina is a photosynthetic

= 2500,

yellow to orange).

Acuicultura Balear is a sister company of Construcciones

cell needing of sun-

light to live, it tolerates highly the UV radiation due to the photoprotector characteristics of the carotenes it contains. It is one of the most comprehensive ecological cultures that

tion, its milling, salt iodination, fluoridation and drying among others. Serra is co-operating closely with countries and international Organisations such as UNICEF in the eradication of IDD (Iodine Deficiency Disorders) that affect a great part of

exist, being a full natural process. It naturally colours the brine waters to the familiar orange-reddish aspect that any salt field in the World has and in addition relieves a Iight citric smell

the World's population.

very rewarding to the senses. The importance of Dunaliella Salina is explained with the high

The experience of Serra in saIt technology and processes span from 1952.

levels of carotenoids that it contains, mainly Beta-Carotene. Beta-Carotene is a pro-Vitamin A, source ofVitamin A, (one

Owing to the constant wish of Formentera Salt Field management to find a feasible and eco-compatible culture for the

molecule of Beta-Carotene originates two ofVitamin A) and it is synthesised by the human body only up to the level its needed

salt field in order to provide solution to the ecological problems detailed in the first part of this article, on early 1996

therefore assuring always the proper level of this essential antioxidant with no side effects to Iiver or other organs contrary to the traditional Vitamin A (palmythate). Several clinical studies (Nishino, Hayoku - Japan) reveal the existing correlation among the incidence of cancer and the low levels of Beta-Carotene in the blood (isomers cis-Beta-Carotene and alpha-Carotene: almost uniquely present in Dunaliella Salina microalgae). In this way the consumption of foods and preparations containing Dunaliella Salina may help to prevent certain types of cancer (Nishino, Hayoku - Japan): such as cerebral tumours, leukaemia, skin cancer, Iiver and stomach cancers, etc. In the same way, North American investigators (Dr. Meyskens) declare the Natural Beta-Carotene as a pharmaceutical and food base of first level in the prevention and healing of cancer in the

Dunaliella salina in vegetative stage

coming future. Other studies have been carried recently in wide population areas showing significant improvements among patients suffering of oesophagus, lung and stomach cancers, asthma, throat inflammations, leukaemia, intestinal and stomach ulcers, resulting at the same time in an improvement of appetite and sleep. Natural Beta-Carotene prevents the decrease of white cells and platelets in the blood due to ionic radiation, therefore proving to be effective in front of nuclear radiation. Up to now we have detailed the important effects ofDunaliella Salina and thereforeNatural Beta-Carotene as anticancer agent. Besides, it is as well ĂŠl very important photoprotector against UV radiation, it also reinforces the irnmunity system improv-

Dunaliella salina in beta-carotene accumulation stage


and original structure of the salt field, evaporators, salt ponds,

Acuicultura Balear started in Formentera Salt Field the tests for the production of Dunaliella Salina, obtaining satisfactory results.

etc. therefore preserving and maintaining the rich historical heritage that in most cases our beloved salt fields represent. At present time there also other salt fields around the World

The start of the recuperation of the Formentera Salt Field will bring an immediate c1eaning of the area restablishing the

interested to co-operate with Acuicultura Balear for the cul-

past beauty and magnificence, improving the environment condition and what is most important will restart the cycle of water

ture of Dunaliella Salina, we believe that it is a good solution for the wetlands and salt fields that are non operative or going

renovation in the lake (Estany Pudent) resulting in the immedi-

to be. The activities of Acuicultura Balear in Formentera Salt Field

ate stopping of the hypersalinisation process while gradually reducing the salinity of the lake.

will start immediately after the obtention of the permit to be issued by the Balearic Islands State Govemment.

Acuicultura Balear forecasts that in short time after starting the activity in Formentera the most resistant fish species will come back to the lake enabling a continued process of natural retuming of all species that lived there in the past. In the same way the bird

Acuicultura Balear offered its expertise and full co-operation to service UNESCO and INSULA to help by providing, in the possible extent, operational solutions to salt fields and wetlands around the World that may be in the need.

life will follow. lt is the wish of Acuicultura Balear to develop at that stage different activities in order to approach nature and history to all population and visitors, such as bird watching, etc.

Here there was an example of how Workmanship can save endangered Nature.

The cultivation of microalgae Dunaliella Salina rank among the best altemative salt cultures to be developed in salt fields


Acuicultura Balear Formentera SPAIN

that are economically non viable. lt maintains fully the aspect



Starting in the north is the Grado and Marano Lagoon which is in close correlation with the hydrodynamic system of the


Isonzo River in the north and the Tagliamento River in the south; next is the Lagoon of Caorle between the Tagliamento River to the north and the Livenza River to the south; then the


Ven ice Lagoon bordered by the Piave River in the north and the Brenta River in the south; the Po Delta complex between the Adige River in the north and the Po di Volano arrn on the


south; and lastly, the remaining "valli" or enclosed bodies of



water of the "Valli di Comacchio" complex,located

the Po Delta, and which, with other remaining wetland zones extend almost as far as Ravenna (AA.VV.,1984b; AMMlNISTRAZIONE PROVINCIALE DIROVIGO,1981; RALLo-PANDOLFI, 1988;

In the Mediterranean area, the coastal stretch of the northern Adriatic between Monfalcone in the north and Ravenna in the south, encloses the most important wetland zone com-


plex in ltaly and one of the most extensive in Europe (BULLO,

In al!, the wetland areas described above cover a total of over 150,000 ha (Fig.l).

1940;CIsOTTO, 1964). The saltwater coastal lagoons where formed during the present Quatemary age by the interaction between the solid material from the main rivers of the Eastem Po Plain with the

The areas have similar morphological features, as fol!ows (RALLO, 1984): of terrnophilic

The wetland zones in question in the ltalian territory belong to three regions: Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Emilia Romagna.




tct.h" •••~

":...r. ~.(("".,.,....


•....• .1,( (..........


..:.......,..€...... (J



¿-•••• ,!'" H I"'•• "I ••~

~"4,n..".. u,


lO; .!"1I",u.


'''' S''''i*pl'-..l' ,4. ,,"' •••• 1•••••. ;



.l• .2',,,t•.

.aliJt.,F. ••



f ••J..U



••• " ••••".

~ir ••••h


" ••~ •..•.•.••••.••..•••• ~I. E •.•.i.,.U_.

.•• _






d. ,.._ ~:. ~l'1"w .I;••••• u.t •• _ •••,..


'" •.",('" ...:'••••:1,•• J4l ••




¿\J""J ••••••



t._ ,...


di una 5tazione. da Pesca nelle VALLI DI C6MACCHI6



¡S-,e ••.

wood, residual ponds behindthe

and so on); b) longish stretches of deep lagoon, referred to us as "laguna viva" (live lagoon) with several land masses above the

Nomenclatura ..5

• ..?•• ,

and environmental

a) natural ambients typical of littorals (coastal dunes, strips



south of


Fig. 1 - A map of"valle da pesca" (BULLO, 1940)



alla pesca

economy (BERNAUS,1986; BOATO-SIGNORA, 1985; DONATI,1984). In addition to the traditional fishing activity, the unusual activity of "vallicultura" is also practised in these areas. "Vallicultura" is used for a particular type of extensive aquaculture with the scope of breeding species of fish that are euryhaline, and adaptable to differing levels of salinity in particular. These include the European Gilthead (Sparus auratus), the European Bass, (Dicentrarchus

labrax), the European

Eel (Anguilla anguilla ) and the Mugiloidei including the Flathead Grey Mullet (Mugil cephalus), the Thicklip Grey Mullet (Chelon labrosus), the Thinlip Grey Mullet (Liza ramada), the Golden Grey Mullet (Liza aurata) and the Leaping Grey Mullet (Liza saliens) (AA.VV., 1984a;RAvAGNAN,1978). These species are definied as "euryhaline" due to their ability to adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions, and they come frorn breeding areas that are often located at a considerable distance from the coast. "Vallicultura"is Fig. 2 - "Valle da Pesca" around 1495, representation of the painter Vettor Carpaccio (Paul Getty Museum - colection in MalibĂş-Califomia)

based on the natural migratory movement

of the species in question and starts off with the new-born fish

surface where the presence of man has become firmly

(post-larval or more advanced stages) moving from the coastal belt across the channels of an estuary, port mouth an other

established; these include the majority of the inhabited lagoon islands and the most important centres: Grado, Caorle, Burano, Treporti, Murano, Venice, Chioggia and

waterways that cornrnunicate with the lagoon (LEVI MORE os, 1920; NINNIE., 1932). Successively they retum towards the sea after a period of


growth in the lagoon that is dependent on factors such as the

e) the characteristic "barene" or tidal flats, flattish table-like

food availability, population density, salinity and temperature.

surfaces intersected by a myriad of lagoon channels included the unic winding "ghebi" (water courses created

Since ancient times dwellers of the wetland zones in question had been familiar with the natural migration of fish. The

and supplied regularly by the normal syzigial tide), or periodically covered by tidal rise and which host unusual

movement of fish from the sea was described in roman times by Varrone, " Sic nostra aetus luxuria propaga bit leporaria

localised halophilic biotic communities;

ac piscinas protulit ad mare, et in eas pelagio greges piscium revoca bit" ( BELLEMO,1893).

d) the "valli da pesca" (enclosed fish farrning reserves) whic include stretches of "barena'', tidal flat, used by man and transformed over the many centuries are which now contitute geographical units and realities in themselves. The zones in questions include a considerable number of important extensive fishing and aquaculture areas. These areas have given risen to a deep-rooted culture that as unique and homogeneous ethnographic elements (BULLO, 1940; NARDo,1871; RALLO,1992a; RALLO,1996). Fishing has mainly developed through the fishing centres of Grado, Marano, Caorle, Burano, Venice, Pellestrina, Chioggia, Goro, Gorino and Comacchio (BULLO,1891; DE MARCHESETTI, 1882; KRISCH,1900; ARCA'et alii, 1992). Fishing activities involve several hundred workers and bring about notewothy redistribuction

and expansion in the local

Fig. 3 - Some examples of"lavoriero":


Valle Nova in the Caorle Lagoon.

Man made use of this natural migratory event of the eurytrophic species by adapting several stretches of the lagoon areas with special works and structures. It is comon opinion to state a fact that fishing and hunting were developed not far from the "Rivoalto islands" (the actual Venice) even before the creation of permanent human settlements; GALLlCCIOLI (1795) wrote in his essay: "Fino dai tempi piú remoti eranvi in questi estuari certi chiusi d'acqua destina ti principalmente alla pesca e uccellagione; i vecchi le appellavano semplicemente acque, ma le recenti etá le dicono valli (= Since ancient times there were in these estuaries some enclosed basins destinated for fishing and bird-hunting: the old generations used to call them acque, but the new ones call them valli)".

Fig. 4 - "Casone" di Valle Zappa in the Venice Lagoon.

The works and "valli" areas in questions are designed for baIla, ballah,which means "parapet, fencing , defence of poles

the collection and capture of part of the fish stocks which are temporarily available in the lagoon.

and woven branches made on a spacious ground so as to prevent access" (BULLO,1940) and later on , adapted with the late Latin term valleum (LEV! MORENOS,1904).

Today's "valli da pesca ", fish farming reserves, are the result of many centuries of experience, works and structures that have characterised

and transformed

The "valli da pesca"

vast coastal zones

novelists, particularly by Torquato Tasso (1544-1595) in his

and created a unique geographical complex in so much as the "valli da pesca" have taken on the role of a built up landscape, as is widely recognised for othe types of ltalian agrarian landscape (SERENl,1987; ARCA' et alii, 1992). Several small-scale examples similar to techniques present "vallicoltura"

have been described also by many

7th book of "La Gerusalemme Liberata": "".come il pesce cola do ve impaluda nei seni di Comacchio il nostro mare fugge dall'onda impetuosa e cruda, cercando in placid'acque oye ripare; ma vien che in se stesso ci si richiuda in palustre prigion ( the enclosures of the fish farming reserves),ne puó


have come to light in the archaeologi-

ché quel serragio

e con

mirabil uso sempre all'entrar aperto,

cal excavations of the Etruscan centre of Spina (Valli di Comacchio) and the Paleoveneto-Roman city of Altino (northern Venice Lagoon in the proximity of the Valli Paliága/Cá Deriva - now reclaimed - and Perini).

all 'uscir chiuso (the "lavoriero") ..... '" . Among the painters, the oldest (around 1495) and the most peculiar representation is that one that Vettor Carpaccio give

One of the earliest written document handed down to us concerning the "valli da pesca" is book XII of the "Variae "

us with a picture wich is now at the "Paul Getty Museum" in Malibu (Fig. 2).

of Cassiodoro (Minister of the Ostrogothic King Theodoric) in 514, when he described the regions of the Veneto people

...~_..... ,;. '\

and made reference to the numerous "valli da pesca " fish farmings reserves he come across, definig them as piscinae neptunae. In later times, after 1000, other writers mentioned them , including Svajer, Filiasi, Silvestri, Giustinian , and Temanza , and called them piscariae acquae (BULLO,1940). The present name of "valle" was found in use from the first time with the term clausura valium in a Resolution dated July 5 h, 1425, in the Rogadis of the Pregadi Council (The Senate) t

of the Republic of Venice (NARDO,1864). For several authors, the term "valle" referring to bodies of

.,I -,

Fig. 5- "Casone" in a map of 1666, paint Francesco Fioroni, in the Venice State Archives (ASV, map 256)

water enclosed inside fencing, pilling and only in recent times with embankments, derives frorn the the Gallic-Celtic term









, ,. ~;....

that special fixed structures called lavoriero have been set up

"Vallicoltura" thus represents a way of making use of some portions of sal water zones , with embankment or fencing,

in the "valli" (Fig. 3). There are examples of lavoriero in the archeological exca-

exploiting the migration of the young fish which is also inte-

vations in the Greek-Etruscan centre of Spina, and it is illustrated in detail with its component parts and evolution by

grated by "sowing" newly-bom fish supplied by itinerant fishermen This integration was undoubtedly known last century when A.P.N INNI(1881) described the unusual practise of catching

AA.VV (1900) and NARDO(1864). This structure bars the fish's retum route to the sea, makes

newly-bom fish in the Burano area. The fish is caught in the "valle" during the Autumn- Winter

it easy to catch, and can aid quality and size selection and allow the young ones to enter the "valle" through appropriate

period or froima, a very old local dialect term derived from the Latin infra hieme = around Winter (E. NINNI, 1920).

closure grilles (FRlEDLANDER, 1872; RAVAGNAN, 1978). At present, the northem Adriatic coastal zones host a hundred or so "valli" in several of the most important wetland

The fact that the euryhaline migratory species have to pass through the channels that communicate with the sea, has meant

complexes, as can be seen in the following table:







The simple use of the saltwater wetland zones in question through "vallicoltura", makes for an annual production rate between 70 and 150 kglha of "white" fish, that is the eurytropic species used in classical "vallicoltura" (RALLO,1987). Here it must be emphasised that the natural environment represented by the coastal saltwater wetland zones, can well be considered a true model of integrated management resulting from a centuries-old ethnographic-cultural situation(KIRK, 1987; RALLo,1996). Every "valle" is a separate and specialized geographical and hydrodynamical unit. In fact, it consists, as a

Fig. 6 - "Peschiere" of a Valle in the north of tyhe Venice Lagoon

rule, of:

zones included among those classifiable as of intemational

a. one "casen di pesca" and one "cason di caccia" sometimes dated XVI century (Fig. 4 & 5)

importance according to the Ramsar Convention, fall clearly into the northem Adriatic's "valli da pesca" fish-farming reserves (BOLDREGHINI A D RALLO,1982; r.W.R.B., 1992).

b. the "peschiere" (Fig. 6) c. one (or more) "b煤seni" (Fig. 7)

The wintering population the "valli" complexes in question host, can on average be divided up as follows:

d. one canal called "sbregavalle" and its derivates (Fig.8) e. one "Iavoriero"


f. one (or more) "chiari" or ponds (Fig. 9). Its range is normally about 500 ha although there are also smaller "valli" ( <100 ha), and valli with an extraordinary range, well over 1000 ha (Valli Doga o Dogado, Grassab贸 e Dragojesolo ).


14.000 32.000

The region of Veneto has given great care to the "valli"




35.000 55.000


including them in an urbanistic set of rules (REGIONEDEL VENETo,1995a & 1995b) which takes into consideration every




"valle" as a geographical unit remarking, in a legal point of view, the components that we've mentioned above. From the point of view of nature, it is clear that the "valli da pesca" fish-farming

reserves at present are a fundamental

habitat for various populations of water birds present in the northwestem Adriatic regions. In the entire system of the northern Adriatic coastal wetlands, contingents of wintering water birds can be found first and foremost in the "valli da pesca" fish-farming reserves (Fig. 10). If detailed analyses are done on the data on wintering supplied by the periodical census caried out by the r.W.R.B. (International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau) and coordinated for Italy by the LN.B.S. (National Institute of BiFig. 7 - "Buseno'' of a "valle".

ology for Game), it can be deduced that many of the wetland


(Reeurvirostra avosetta), the Blackwinged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), the Gull-billed

Tern (Geloehelidon

nilotiea), the Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvieensis), the Mediterranean Black-headed Gull (Larus melanoeephalus) and the Slender-billed Gull (La rus genei), present in the Comacchio "valli" with important colonies (FASOLA,1986; RALLO,1984). "Vallicoltura" then, referring to the northern Adriatic use of portions of lagoons known as "valli da pesca" or fishfarming reserves, is an interesting form of wetland management. It involves unusual ethnographic, historical, cultural and environmental elements.

Fig. 8 - "Canale sbregavalle" ofValle Averto in the Ven ice Lagoon

As for the main species of nesting water birds, it can be seen that the "valli da pesca" are also essential for several populations of Ardeidae (FASOLA-BARBIERI-PRlGIONl-BOGLIANI, 1981; heron colonies (Fig. 11). The use of fresh water for the "vallicoltura" activities, has promoted the growth of vast expanses of Phragmitetum reeds

of Venice and still today is widely practised in the geographical region of the northem Adriatic. Translated into economics terms, "vallicoltura''

which create excellent nesting conditions for the Marsh Harrier (Cireus aeruginosus). Apart from the "valli" zones in the

At present "valli" are threatened by a great deal of serious

1985). Lastly, it has been demonstrated that severa1 "valli da pesca" fish-farming reserves provide important nesting sites for sev(Tringa totanus),

problems: a. Slitting up : the real estate and the managerial division of the geographical unit, concerning every single "valle". Just now, the are actually very few and sporadic

order, such

the Eurasian

is simply

the use of the natural capital, that is the saltwater wetlands zone in the form of a "valle", and its yield in terms of fish (white- fish) is comparable to the anual interest on its capital.

Venice Lagoon, this bird does not find a suitable nesting habitat in many other lagoon areas (GRUPPOc.r.S.O. DI VENEZIA,

as the Redshank

activities practised in other geographical areas of the Mediterranean as it represents an ancient form of management of the coastal wetlands areas that can be attributed to ancient times. It was developed and consolidated under the Republic

RALLO,1984; RALLO,1992b), with important nesting sites for

eral interesting members of the Charadriformes

"Vallicoltura'' can be distinguished from the acquaculture


cases(Vallesina- Valle grande of Bibione, Valle Grande Caccia or S.Gaetano, Valle of Averto, Valle Comio etc.), there is a splitting up and a real estate division by selling single portions of the former "valle" unit. This situation, namely a new managerial trend causes dan:ages to the unicity of the landscape, to the original hydrodynamical system (which was based on a "lavoriero" on a "chiavica maestra" and on a "b煤seno") and it also causes damages to the unitary ecological-environmental


b. Quality of the waters : fresh-waters (form the inland) and salt waters (from the lagoon), which are extremely important for the "valle" system are becoming more and more polluted, due to the industrial emissions ( organoChlorinated, heavy metals etc., from the industrial areas

Fig. 9 - Ponds of Valle Grassab贸 in the Venice Lagoon.


of Monfalcone-Aussa Viscosa and Portomarghera, especially during the 70's and 80's), the emissions from the agricoltural areas (pesticides and chemical manures) and from urban areas (drain waters). c. Culturalloss:

there is a loss of the identity of the work in

the "valle". A job like "capovalle"(chief of the valle), "capopesca" (fishing chief), "capocaccia" (hunting chief) and "valles ano" (skilled worker of the valle) is today less and less considered as a rewarding job due to the other offers of the industrial work ( Venezia-Mestre-Marghera area, for instance). The know-how, which a "valle" worker had in the past (knowledge of the territory, atmospheric phenomena, tides, hydrodynamics, geographical socio-polítical context), is now dying away.


Fig. 11 - Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

d. Contentious procedure pertains to the State Property : the

ing the threats and the problems the we have mentioned above.

italian Revenue Office has recently claimed the property of the "valli" from an interpretation of the Navigation Code ( arto 28, in R.D. 30.03.1942, N.327). The Revenue

It can, moreover, be transposed to other similar coastal wetland zones in the Mediterranean basin (ARCA' et alíi, 1992).

Office, in fact, considers the "valli da pesca" as one of

1 wish to thank Mr. Cipriano Marin for having invited me at

the State Property. The "valli", thus since they carne from

the International Meeting "Nature and Workmanship" in Paris. 1 also wish to thank Mr Paolo Chinellato for his suggestions

private properties (BULLO, 1940; FABRJS,1991; GUICCIARDI, 1942; LEVI MORENOS,1904; MANFRJN,1942) during the Venetian Republic, are now trheateded in their original identity.

and advices conceming the english version of this paper. 1 It is impossible to translate literally the whole quotation ofTorquato Tasso, which in brief indicates the "valle"-fishing and above all the "lavoriero".

"Vallicoltura" then, the northern Adriatic model of inteGIAMPAOLO RALLO

grated management of the wetland zones, has proven indispensable for the preservation of these areas and will carry them successfully through to the 2000s, preventing and solv-

Director o/ Valle Averto Fish-farming and WWF Natural Reserve Venice-Campagnalupia ITALY






-'$...- ..~"

•. ••.••.• -,



.•.• -.-

.. ., - ..

Fig. 10- Waterfowl at sunset in a "valle".








at ~




I.W.R.B., 1992, MANAGING



Venezia, pp.I-386.

M.VV., 1984 a, 1984,ACQUACOLTURA ·'G.Bruneli", 4, 2 (suppl.): 1-156.










BULLOG.S., 1891,PISCICOLTURA MARlNA.STIMADELLECOLTIVAZIONI IN ACQUA SALSA. Stab.Prosperini, Padova, pp. 1.430 (Allegato ATLANTE, 11 tav.f.t.).

ed uso dell'ecosistema 77-84.

CISOITO L., 19&4,LE VALLI DA PESCA DELLE LAGUNE VENETE. Tip. Folin, Venezia, pp. 1-31, 2 tavv., OEMARCHESETI1, I882,LAPESCALUNCOLECOSTEORlENfALIDELL'ADRlAPubbIicaziooi dell'hnperiale Regio Govemo Marinimo, Tip.Lod.Herrmanstorfer, Trieste, pp. 1-229.


~\' ITALIA. Ed. Le Monnier,





DELLA LAGUNA ln "Ripristino, eonservazione

lagunare vencziano", Ed. Comune di Venezia, Tip.Cornmerciale,


F.Muzzio Ed ..

Padova, pp. 1-233. M., 1988, LE ZONE UMIDE DEL VENETO.

F.Muzzio Ed., Padova, pp.I-396. RAVAGNAN G., 1978, VALLICOLTURA



Regione del Veneto e

Edagrieole, Bologna, pp. 1-283.

REGIONE DEL VE ETO, 1995a, PIANO DI AREA LAGUNA E AREA VENEZIANARELAZIONE. Regionedel Veneto-Consiglio Regionale, Provvedimento n. 70 del 09.11.95, pp. 1-123. REGIONE DEL VENETO, NORME TECNICHE

1995b, PIANO DI AREA LAGUNA E AREA VENEZIANADI ATTUAZIONE. Regione del Venero-Consiglio Regionale,

Provvedimento n. 70 del 09.11.95, pp. 1-75. RINALDlI., 19&0, LE VALLI DA PESCA DEL POLESL'lE.




la - Tufted



Speeial Publication I 0.20: 141-143. RAlLO G., 1996, GUIDA ALLA NATURA NELLA LAGUNA DI VENEZIA.









RAlLO G., 1987, LAGUNA E FOCI.ln "Mare Nostrum", E.Rainero Ed., Firenze, unie: 167.197.





Avoeerta, 5 (n.s.): 107-131. FRlEOLANOER E., 1872, LA PESCA NELLE LAG UNE DI COMACCmO. Firenze, pp.I-IOO.


Antonelli Ed., Venezia. NINNI E., 1920, PESCI, CROSTACEI E MOLLUSCHI NEL VERNACOLO VENEZIANO. Tip.R.Pilla, Venezia, pp. 1-59. NINNI E., 1932, LA PESCA DEL PESCE NOVELLO O DA SEMINA Italia Peschereeeia, 12: 121.

Univers.Urbino, 21-22.09.1982, vol.unieo: 203-219. BULLO G., 1940, LE VALLI SALSE DA PESCA E LA VALLlCULTURA. Off.Graf.C.Ferrari, Venezia, pp.I-186, 78 tavv.f.t. (estratto da "La Laguna di Venezia-Monografia'', vol.l 11, parte VI. Tomo XI).



DOMINIO. Atti lmp.lst.Ven.Sc.Lett.Arti, 8 (111): 1-159. NINNI A.P., 1881,MODELLI DEGLI ARNESI USATI DAI PESCATORl





Tip.M. Visentini, Venezia, pp. 1.103.

Padova, pp.I-260.









Chioggia, pp. 1-346.

DONATI F., 1984, LA BONIFICA DI COMACCHIO.lstituto NazionaleSoeiologia F.Angeli Ed., Milano, pp.l-I 56. FABRlS A., 1991, VALLE FIGHERI. Filippi Ed., Venezia, pp. 1-141.



BERNAUS v., 1986, VALLlCOLTURA: ASPETTI PRODUTTIVI E DI MERCATO. Univ.St.Venezia, Facoltá Eeon.Comm-Tesi di laurea a.a. 85/86, pp.I-316. BOAITO V.-SIGNORA


Memorie R.Comitato Talassografieo Italiano, 72 : 1-98. LEVI MORENOS D., 1904, LAVORO E PROPRIETA' DEL SUOLO AQUEO. Boeca Ed., Torino, 1-66.

TE. Quaderni Ist.Idrobiol.Acquacolt.

M.VV., 1984 b, 1984, LAGU 'A. CONSERVAZIONE DI UN ECOSISTEMA. Comunedi Venezia & WWF, Trevisanstampa, Venezia-Mestre, pp. 1-103. AMMINISTRAZIONE PROVINCIALE DI ROVIGO, 1981, LE VALLI DA PESCA NEL. POLESINE. Uff.Studi-Pubbl.n.94: 1-66. BELLEMO


Proeeed.lWRB Symp., Speeial Publie. . 20: 1-285. LEVI MORE OS D., 1920, L'UTILlZZAZIONE RAZIONALE

Duck (Aythyafuligula) in Valle Averto (Venice Lagoon).




Ed.n Mulino, Bologna, pp.1 159. ITALIANO.


Ed. Laterza, Bari, pp.

A.Challamel Ed., Paris, pp.

means the construction of all kind of big structures that have to


be decommissioned after a few decades: platforms, tankers, pipelines. The decommissioning cost of these structures is often very high. (ex: between GBP 19 and 40 million for Odin) Conscious of all these factors, the American States, along the Gulf of Mexico adopted since 1989 a program called «Rigs to Reefs» consisting of the use of old c1eaned oil rigs sunk to make artificial reefs. Similar programs where already existing for ship wrecks. The results are excellent and the programs are going on. The interest for the oil companies is evident. The states take

To sustain the consumption of fish in spite of the actual stagnation of the fisheries, aquaculture appears as an obliged solution. Indeed, after being multiplied 5 folds in forty years, the

charge of the old rigs at a cost equivalent to half of the onshore decommissioning cost. The States subcontract to privates com-

world annual fisheries production stays between 85 and 100 M ton s since 1990, while the demand is still increasing. Freshwater aquaculture is highly developed in Asia. Its de-

panies the preparation and sinking of the rigs. The last amendments to the convention for the protection of

velopment is limited essentially for cultural and environmental

the Mediterranean Sea against pollution and its protocols, also

reasons on the other continents. At short or medium term, the marine aquaculture in pens will be limited by sites availability,

called Barcelona Convention, authorise the immersion of decommissioned platforms after c1eaning to make artificial reefs. In Tunisia, near Sfax, the first country's fishing port, the

pollution problems and resources of fish meal use to produce the fish feed. On the other hand, artisanal and coastal fisheries

Kerkennah islands are an ideal site as a Mediterranean demonstrator. Everything looks great:

must be maintained and developed for evident socio-economi-

the most typical Mediterranean marine ec?system ( more than 1000 km2 of posidonia), still existing old fashion artisanal fishery (±3 600 people living from artisanal fishery),

cal reasons. Sea ranching, a technique more and more used in Japan and in the USA is a mix offish farming and fishery. Great quantities of fingerlings of commercial fish species are produced under control and released in naturally well adapted areas where they

fish stocks dec1ining due to industrial overfishing, local species easy to produce by fish farming (mullet, sea

are fished when adults. In parallel, creation of artificial reefs in well chosen sites

bream, sea bass, octopus, etc.), good sites for artificial reefs in the area, good potential of reef exploitation by artisanal fishermen and scuba divers, .

permits the development of natural regeneration poles, maintains the biodiversity of natural species and local genetic stocks. Finally, artificial reefs or «fish houses» can be coupled to

very good area for the creation of marine natural reserves

restricted fishing areas along the coasts. By this way, the regeneration capacity of natural populations is assured and the risk

or restricted fishing areas, exceptional area in terms of archaeological sites,

of total extinction of stocks is practically eliminated. The harmonious integration ofthe three techniques, sea ranching, artificial reefs and natural reserves could promote the re-

traditional exploitation of Salinas.

covering of important stocks of commercial fish species while

The EARRN (European Artificial Reef Research Network:

respecting the biodiversity and improving the exploitation of

30 Universities) support the project and is ready to widely col-

the full support capacity of the seas. The socio-econornical aspects linked to these artisanal and coastal fishing activities are very important: maintaining of

laborate. The project inc1ude different steps

coastal populations, tourist attraction, SMEs development, ern-

1) a hatchery on the Kerkennah Islands (off Sfax) 2) pilot study to identify optimal fish size-at-release and other

ployment creation, supply of fresh and healthy food, raw materials for processing, products for exportation, social peace, etc.

. parameters 3) identification of the best area where to create a marine re-

Oil companies suffering very often of a very bad environmental image are every day more depending of their offshore

serve 4) administrative process necessary to do a marine reserve and tú sink structures

supply and are the targets of violent critics from the environmentalists and the governments. This offshore exploitation


Kerkennah islands and preserved ancestral sailboats used by local fisherrnen on the surrounding sea grass.

5) practical sinking of structures to make artificial reefs and follow up

Photo: .J.F. GAlLLOUD

weight and the subsequent lack of light for photosynthesis. The sea grass becomes weak and and more sensitive to pollution, competition by Caulerpa taxifolia (the killing algae) and destruc-

6) organisation of the control of the exploitation of the artificial reefs.

tion. There is then a direct link between the subaquatic vegetation health and the density of its host populations.

Ecological aspects The Mediterranean sea collects the waters of 29 different streams. On its coasts are living more than 100 millions people

The Gulf of Gabes seems to be relatively preserved from pollution due to the effect of marine currents on the wide continental shelf. The posidonia is covering more than 1000 Km' of

in urban areas and more than 100 millions oftourists are taking holidays.

made of large natural ponds and channels where animal

the Kerkennah banks. The North Eastem zone of the banks is

In the Mediterranean sea, the majority of muddy bottoms of

populations could be easily controllable. The ecosystem ofthese ponds is particularly ideal for the growth of local commercial

the photic zone are covered by an endemic specie of sea grass named Posidonia oceanica. A great variety of animal species are

species like mullet, sea bream, octopus etc.

living between its long leaves covered by fixed planctonic algaes also called ÂŤalgal turfÂť. Up to a quarter of the Mediterranean biodiversity is directly linked to this ecosystem. The equilibrium

Technical aspects

is assured as long as the phytoplancton is consumed by fingerlings of all kind of marine species and certain adult fish like the mullet.

Sea ranching: The on shore basic infrastructure is mainly composed of a hatch-

If the animal population declines over its optimal density, the

ery for the mass production of fingerlings and young octopus.

algal turf is not enough consumed and becomes too thick. Both the algal turf and the posidonia leaves are stressed by their over-

They will be reintroduced in the sea with the collaboration of the local fishermen who will harvest them a few months later.


Artificial reef: Different kind of material s will be sunk on the Northem limit

economy and the willingness of managers and fishers to accept and share responsibility.

of the banks at depths between 30 and 50 meters where the biological production is optimal. These materials could be

In Kerkennah, the fishing industry represents around 40% of the employment of the active population. The traditional fish-

cleaned decommissioned ships and platform jackets, concrete structures, etc.

ing methods respect the stocks and are already half the way between fishing and fish farming. They are based on fixed fish-

These two techniques together with the creation of natural marine reserves or restricted fishing areas, have a wide synergistic effect. The stock enhancement restore the equilib-

eries and octopus trapping in territorial concessions. The overfishing by the coastal float near the limits of the conces-

rium of populations for target fish species and the artificial reef forms a regeneration source for the whole biodiversity. In this

portant socio-economic depression. Beach tourism started 20 years ago has been unsuccessful

operation, a particular attention will be paid to the conservation of the local genetic potential and the health of fish. A first description of the actual ecosystem and the follow up will be or-

due to the lack of attractiveness (low water depth and muddy bottoms). A nice artificial reef will become a good diving site and will have positive touristic effect on the area. The area

ganised with Tunisian and European Universities in order to develop a responsible approach to marine stock enhancement.

around the reef and part of the banks could become good sport fishing sites for tuna, swordfish, etc. Both terrestrial and ma-

sions is dangerously depleting the stocks and provokes an im-

rine eco-tourism will be developed.

Sociological aspects MARC

How such a model might work depends on the societal roles of fishermen, the importance of fish in coastal and domestic


Kerkennian fixed fisheries on the Posidonia meadow: long Iines of palm leaves conduct fishes into capture chambers.





resource depletion and the negative impacts that the develop-


ment of one sector may have on other sectors. Should Albania maintain a status qua or, in other words, ad hoc and sectoral environmental management and investment strategies, the result will be a further decline in environmental quality and functioning, increase in conflicts among users of the coastal zone, and diminishing of natural and cultural resources available to those users. There are numerous reasons why Albania needs ICAM today, the most important ones being: Compared with other parts of the country, the coastal region of Albania is the most important and economically most valuable space, from both development and environ-


mental points of view. The economic and socialliberalization of Albania will cause many people to migrate towards the coast further burden-

This report is one of the outputs of Integrated Management of Coastal and Marine Areas of the Durrési- Vlora Region initi-

ing the coastal resources. Initiation of a permanent ICAM process and preparation of

ated through «Coastal Areas Management Programme» (CAMP) for Albania which is based on the agreement co-signed by the

the CZM Plan for the coastal region are powerful tools for securing rational use of natural resources, protection of

Albanian Govemment and UNEP-Mediterranean

biodiversity and creation of an institutional foundation for the implementation of appropriate development strategies

Action Plan

(MAP). The work is being carried out by the Priority Actions Programme/Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC) of MAP.

based on the concept of sustainable development. Albania, as a signatory of a large number of intemational

Another, similar project is going on for the North and South Coastal Regions within the framework of a METAP project sponsored by the World Bank. 1t is being implemented by PAP/RAC

conventions, contracts and other legal documents (such as Ramsar, Barcelona, Biodiversity Convention, and Law of the Sea), is obliged to implement an effective system of

and the environmental planning firm Dobbin Milus Intemational (DM1). The national counterpart institution ensuring contacts and cooperation with various other govemmental agencies is the Committee of Environmental Protection (CEP) of Albania. The Coastal Zone Management Plan of Durrési- Vlora Re-




gion covers the central part of Albania's coast which stretches between Ishmi River (north of Rodoni Peninsula) and Orikum Lagoon (root of Vlora Bay). The inland depth of the coastal zone varies in dependence of the issues that are being focused on and studied on the basis of administrative, ecological, landscape, management, and other criteria adopted in determining the area boundaries.



Coastal Zone Management Strategy Traditionally, the resources of Albania's coast, as in most places, have be en developed in a sectoral manner with little regard to the integrated nature of coastal and marine ecosystems. Coastal areas have been usually managed only around political/ administrative boundaries rather than environmental units, which often results in overlapping jurisdictions and re-





sponsibilities. Finally, sectoral approaches often target on shortterm rewards without taking into account the long-term costs of


and investment opportunities; ICAM DURRESINlORA CZM PLAN •


to enhance employment creation opportunities and maxi-


mize benefits to people living in coastal areas; to enhance the institutional capacity to manage and imple-


O N •

n •






ment recommended actions and projects; and to recommend a series of investment projects that will help «kick-start» the coastal economy in an incremental way



Kam~a$l3lagoon Se:mal'li














while providing a vis ion of the overall ICAM programme


in a «step by step» implementation programo




'~~~O~ .l!i


Cliffs Wlth Mtrrow


Basic principies adopted in the Plan preparation were determined so as to make sure that the ICAM will facilitate integra-









tion of sectoral interests, productive coordination of responsible institutions, resource use compatibility, and equity of values among different users. All proposals in the Plan were evaluated through the following criteria: Biodiversity and Environmental Protection. Given the important role of the coastal and marine habitats, biodiversity and environmental components should be considered first.


A ~





Only then, it should be determined what level of development an area can withstand. It is essential that upstream


coastal management, not only in order to resolve the problems of its own coastal zones, but also to implement its

impacts as well as impacts of adjacent activities are accounted foroCriteria for the establishment of «Environmentally Sensitive Areas» (ESAs) should be determined first.

responsibilities under these international agreements.

Allocation of different levels of protection for different areas is the next step. Tourism. Conservation and Cultural Heritage. Tourism is

The most important overall goals of the CZM Plan are the following:

increasingly recognized as an important source of foreign currency. Given the present collapse of industrial activities,

to preserve ecological integrity through establishing ecologically sustainable limits for resource use, that is:

and the still good hea1th of the remaining natural environ-

to renew or rehabilitate damaged resources;

ments, an environmentally-based tourism that is not only sensitive to coastal and marine habitats but which also en-

to ensure that natural resources are equitable between generations;

hances their quality, is the most compatible development option. Linking tourism with nature conservation, through the establishment of protected areas, not only provides an

to encourage complementary rather than competitive activities; to preserve and promote social equity and introduce the participatory approach; and

incentive for introducing environmental standards for tourist facilities but also ensures that large areas of nature are protected. lnstitutional Capacity Building. The ICAM process and

to provide a mechanism for capacity building and planning. The strategic objectives of the Plan are:

planning in its initial stages will require much time and

to promote conservation of Albania's coastal biodiversity,

energy to be employed in assessing which level and type of organizational responsibility, coordination and implemen-

including marine, freshwater, and intertidal habitats; to promote conservation of Albania's coastal cultural herit-

tation is most suitable to particular places and activities. A plan, sponsored by the WB, is being implemented by PAP! DMI for the North and South Coastal Regions. This report pro-

age, including historical, cultural, architectural and archaeological sites of interest; to promote the expansion of Albania's coastal and marine-

vides an overall framework for and identifies links among North, Central (Durrési- Vlora) and South Coastal Regions.

related tourism and ecotourism industry, other activities,


Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) have been selected according to both management and scientific criteria. In the

The Adriatic coastal zone, which is characterized by the alluvial coastal plain stretching along low-Iying sandy shores, is similar in the North and Central Coastal Regions. This calls for

Durrési- Vlora region, four main wetland areas can be singled

a similar approach to be adopted in dealing with the coastal

out as ESAs: (1) Lalzi Bay with the Erzeni River mouth; (2) The Shkumbini and Semani deltas with Karavasta Lagoon; (3) The Vjosa River delta and Narta Lagoon; (4) Orikum Lagoon.

zone management issues for both regions. The wetlands of the North and Central Coastal Regions are rich in biodiversity, particularly the areas of Drini-Mati-Ishmi

These wetlands are characterised by the following:

in the North Region and Shkumbini-Semani- Vjosa in the Cen( 1) The area of Lalzi Bay and the Erzeni river mouth is a narrow, reclaimed part of the coastal plain. There are still some natu-

tral Region. These coastal wetlands have almost identical genesis, and their biological and physical characteristics are very similar. What these areas also have in common is the threat by

ral habitats left along the coastline, such as a belt of pine trees, temporary marshes, reedbeds and salt marshes. In addition to the loss of large wetland parts by land reclamation,

the increasing human activities. In the future, it can be expected that the economies ofthe three regions will merge, e.g. through the development of tourism in the South Region and thereby

the quality of natural environment of that area continues to

stimulate import of agricultural produce from the other two.

deteriorate due to the input of the polluted Erzeni river (con-

Primary directions of future population migrations will be from the continental parts of the country and from the coastal hinterlands towards the urban centers of the coastal regions,

taminated mainly by sewage disposed upstream), excessive felling of trees for fuel, and uncontrolled hunting. (2) The most diverse mosaics of natural coastal habitats in Albania can be found between the Shkumbini and Semani river

while migration from one coastal region to another will be negligible.

mouths, with Karavasta Lagoon located in the middle of this still preserved natural segment ofthe coastal strip. There is a number of combined aspects which distinguish the Karavasta Lagoon and Shkumbini and Semani zone as an

Durrésí- VIora Region The Durrési-Vlora coastal region, is generally characterized by coastallowlands

(alluvial plains) intersected by rivers, and

flanked by hills along its upland boundary. The coast is made up of long saridy beaches, deltaic river mouths and lagoons. Four large rivers drain into the region, starting with Ishmi and Erzeni in the north, followed by the Shkumbini, Semani and Vjosa towards south. The drainage basins of these rivers have led to the formation of diverse and productive wetland complexes at the interface of the Adriatic Sea and the landward flood plains. These wetlands include coastallakes and lagoons, including the two biggest Albanian lagoons: Karavasta and Narta (where salt pans can be found), maritime forests, barrier dune and insular systems, and mountains that support rich and globally significant diversity of habitats and species. Administratively, the area has been subdivided into five coastal districts: Durrési, Kavaja, Lushnja, Fieri and Vlora. Only the southem part of the Vlora district, which by its geographic features belongs to the Ionian coastal area, is not included in the project. The Durrési- Vlora region (including the southem part ofthe Vlora district) covers an area of 4,344 sq kilometers, or about 15% of the national territory, and has the population of 820,699 which is more than 25% of the country's total (1990). Excluding the lagoons, its 207 kilometers of the coastline make up 48.3 % of the totallength of Albania's coast.


The most dynamic area of the region will continue to be the coastal transportation axis which links all the important settlements in the region and attracts population not only from the region's highlands but also from other mountainous parts ofthe country. Of course, the concentration of coast-dependent activities such as sea transportation, fisheries, tourism and services are the additional factors which will stimulate the development and growth of the cities of DurrĂŠsi and Vlora. Furthermore, with the construction of tourist establishments and adequate infrastructure on attractive but presently isolated parts of the coast, it is realistic to expect that some settlements of strictly rural character will develop too. intemationally important wetland: the quality and peculiarity of flora and fauna which add a genetic and ecological diver-

CZM Plan

sity to the area; the wetland community typical of its biogeographical region; the presence of 5% ofthe world's population of pelicans making the lagoon one of the five most

spatial organization of people, activities and infrastructure. It is based on the principies of sustainable development, which means that the priority is given to ensuring ecological sustainability of

important sites in the world; the presence of 1% of the Euro-

economic development. Specifically, the plan offers a system

pean total number of several species of nesting birds; the presence of 1% of the European total number of some species of

of guidelines, policy directives and measures guiding public

The coastal management plan provides a framework for the

and private actions for the development of economy and the protection of environmental resources. The plan is not an attempt at ÂŤtotal regulationÂť. It rather focuses on the identification of initiatives and, through selective actions, on the man-

wintering birds. In February of 1993, over 26,000 wintering water birds were counted in Karavasta and the neighboring lagoons. As regards conservation, the most important species are the nesting colonies of pelicans (pelecanus crispus, 30-

agement of coastal resources. The future strategic development framework will be marked

50 nests), which are endangered worldwide. (3) The Vjosa River mouth is characterized by sand banks, mud

by the following spatial elements: the coastal plain with fertile agriculturallands, the value of which will increase after the irrigation network has been

flats, salt marshes, reedbeds, smalllagoons and temporary marshes. On either side ofthe river mouth which meanders through the drained coastal plain, lies a protected area of


pine forests: Pishe-Zeze to the north and Pishe-Poro to the south. Of all the lagoons in Albania, Narta, the second largest,

the coastal transportation corridor is the main development axis in the region, and the proposals for its improvement avoid any possible negative impact on the coastal environ-

experienced the most radical transformation, when more than a third of its area was tumed into a salt pan, while the

mental and natural assets;

northeastem part of the lagoon has been recently tumed into a fish farm. By another intervention, its southem tip was partitioned off as a retention pond for liquid waste of the soda factory. Eutrophication is a serious threat to the lagoon since water exchange through the only canal which links the lagoon with the open sea is very poor. Regardless of this situation, the lagoon is still a habitat of many species of birds, mostly waterfowl (pelicans). (4) Onlyabout 130 ha ofthe formerly larger Orikumi Lagoon remained at the southem end of the Vlora bayo Inflow of fresh water into the lagoon has been reduced, as well as the water exchange between the lagoon and the sea.


strengthening through relevant stakeholders, and especially in the government agencies presently responsible for environmen-

the coastal cities of Durrési and Vlora are the gravity poles of development in the region beca use of the coast -dependent activities concentrated there. Better economic connec-

tal management. Without considerable focus on capacity building and planning at this initial stage of ICAM, investments are likely to follow a short-term, profit-driven agenda that benefits

tions with the outer world (harbour activities), and with the use of their hitherto neglected resources (tourism), the role of Durrési and Vlora as regional centres of industry and services will be further strengthened. areas of natural value along the coast. especially wetlands,

only the few. For planning purposes, the coastline has been divided into three planning zones: the North, the Central and the South

with Karavasta and Narta Lagoons being the most impor-

Zone, each containing marine, wetland, and terrestrial environments with great potential for biodiversity protection, nature conservation, and tourism development. Each planning

tant, are the physical entities whose natural diversity should be protected and promoted through the process of future sound coastal development. It is of special importance to ensure the protection of biodiversity in parallel with the

zone has be en further divided into planning areas to enable a more detailed strategy to be developed for biodiversity protection, tourism, and infrastructure. Ten (lO) planning areas have been identified in the Durrési- Vlora Region, most ofthem

development of coastal tourism which should aim to inelude these environmentally sensitive areas in its specific tourist supply, and take them into account when deciding

containing a combination of marine, wetland, terrestrial and urban environments. On the basis of planning components (biodiversity, tour-

on the layout of tourist accommodation projects. tourist areas are new spatial and functional entities. In the case of the Durrési- Vlora region, this means that any larger

ism and institutional strengthening) and the applied principies of environmental and spatial planning, three key man-

tourist accommodation establishment should be avoided in environmentally sensitive areas which are the most valu-

agement planning projects - Master Plans - are identified which

able parts of the region.

spatially correspond to the North, Central and South Planning Zones. Within each of these two key projects, several specific projects - lntegrated Management Plans - spatially

The general goals and principies of coastal management in

correspond to the Planning Areas.

Albania, as outlined before, have identified three broad axes of intervention: (1) biodiversity conservation and restoration; (2) tourism and infrastructure development; and (3) institutional strengthening. Given the important role of the coastal habitats,


biodiversity and environmenial considerations should come first and from there determine what level of development an area





N Coastal Deveícpmem Axls M lateral DevelOpment Axis I COflceotraled TouriS/n Developmenl

can withstand. It is essential in this region that impacts of upstream and adjacent activities are accounted for. Criteria for the


BJodr.¡erslty Prolecllon



establishment of «environmentally sensitive areas» (ESAs) are conducted first and from this an allocation of different ranges of protected areas. It is important to link tourism with nature conservation through the establishment, not only of environmental standard s for facilities but also ensuring that large areas of nature are protected. Protected areas (proposed on the basis of IUCN classification), are focal points that can attract people and therefore funds to both local communities and national treasuries. Before designating protected areas, it is important to consider the concept of carrying capacity. This is usually defined as the level of visitors' use a site can withstand and still retain a high level of visitors' satisfaction.



The emphasis of this ICAM should lie on capacity building


S <---J"

of human resources. This requires considerable institutional








posite manner. What is needed to meet this objective is to incorporate the principies of ICAM in "sectoral" laws which refer to the country as a whole (e.g., Forestry Law), but also to develop and adopt specific regulations and by-laws which will refer to the coastal zone alone, or to different parts of the coastal systems (land and sea) and their different activity sectors (fishing, agriculture, tourism, oil and gas exploitation, nature conservation, etc.). Priorities in preparation and adoption of laws are identified, such as to establish the requirements, standards and procedures for the Environmental Impact Assessment, to adopt the nature and biodiversity conservation and management regulations related to the protection of coastal and ma-

Master Plan of the North Coastal Zone Integrated Management Plan for the Rodoni Cape - Lalzi Bay Area Integrated Management Plan for the DurrĂŠsi Ur-

rine ecosystems, and to establish specially protected areas on the basis of IUCN classification.

ban Area

The high attraction of the coast for all forms of development on the one hand, and its environmental sensitivity on the other,

Integrated Management Plan for the Golemi Beach - Kavaja Area.

call for the establishment of a fully integrated coastal zone management based on this CZM Plan, as well as other relevant integrated policies to follow in the future. Until these policies are

Master Plan of the Central Coastal Zone Integrated Management Plan for the Lagji Cape - Spilea Beach Area

developed in full, it is necessary to establish a transitional insti-

Integrated Management Plan for the Shkumbini River Karavasta Lagoon - Semani River Area

tutional form of management between the present generally coordinated form and the future fully integrated and coast-ori-

Integrated Management Plan for the Hoxhara Beach Area Integrated Management Plan for the Coastal Plain

ented management. This could be achieved by setting up at the beginning a permanent coordinating body which will be assigned

Master Plan of the South Coastal Zone

the following tasks: (a) to build up the integrated coastal zone

Integrated Management Plan for the Vjosa River - Narta Lagoon Area

management policy consisting of relevant planning documents, legal framework and institutional structure; (b) to monitor, at

Integrated Management Plan for the VIora Urban Area

the same time, the ongoing development processes in the coastal zone; and (c) to take prompt measures to protect the coastal

Integrated Management Plan for the Vlora Bay

resources whenever needed. Integrated management of coastal

Institutional Strengthening The implementation component of this project contains: (a)

wetlands, which covers a whole range of protection aspects for these extremely sensitive coastal ecosystems, requires special

suggestions for the improvement of the legal framework; (b) proposals for institutional strengthening and integrated man-

bodies or Commissions to be organized as sub-components of the main coordinating body. Furthermore, to ensure efficiency

agement; and (c) proposals for capacity building. A need has be en recognized for the elaboration of a specific Legal, Institu-

and competence of action, it is desirable to establish temporary or permanent coordinating bodies similar in structure to the main

tional and Capacity Building Project which will enable the implementation of the sustainable development strategy.


body with the task of implementing

projects (e.g., coastal investment projects).

While developing a completely new, democratic legislation, Albania has an exceptional chance to build the princi-


pies of Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM) into its legal and institutional system in a well-organized


consultant to Priority Actions Programme/Regional

and com-



Activity Centre. Split CROATIA

tampestous, prevailing during winter. In general, meteorological and climatological conditions are smooth. Maritime features


such as transparency, colour, salinity, oxygen, streams, waves, etc., are convenient and stimulate intensive mariculture, but also other human activities (tourism). Sea depth in the island coastal zone is up to 70 m. Adriatic Sea zone produces about 1 million tones of biomass, 40-50 % of it in fish. Selfstendible development allows to fish some 140.000 ton s a year. In last decades there ha ve been some 30-40 thousand offish caught yearly in Croatia. In the same time, not more than 2 % of it is being produced in Croatia by fish and shell farming. Besides that

Introduction Croatian coast of the Adriatic sea has been a great though not enough evaluated re source for different kinds of food

Croatia produces about 10-12000 ton s ayear of sweetwater fish, more than 95 % by farm processing. Croatian coastal zone is, from the geographic and ecological

production. Traditional fishery, wetland exploitation and salt

point of view, very attractive for different ways of food produc-

production have been nowadays improved by some contem-

tion because of very good mari time and biological characteristics of the Adriatic Sea, and also because of very smooth climate features. Socioeconomic

aspect of

the process shows some additional problems, which are to be solved as soon as possible. Opening of the free market economy after the fall of comunism, when the Serbian


started and Croatia proclaimed its independence, caused some positive effects. The first results have National Park Komati, Croatia.

Photo: Tjeáimir MARIC

been shown, too. The main theme of

poraneous seaculture concepts. The first steps that were made in the eighties, have been continuing these last years with an

this paper is not to explain social and economic aspects of this new process, but to present some examples of traditional, as well as modem forms of coastal zone food production and some

intensive interest in opening new capacities. The abundance of natural resources is characterising Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea. Four national parks are situated in the coastal

other possibilities of economic activity (tourism). The special attention has been paid to island zones. The main sorts of food production observed here have been primarily: natural and artificial wetlands' agriculture, possibilities of mariculture (fish,

and island area. There are more than 1100 islands, islets, cliffs and reefs. Less than one hundred islands has been inhabited (127.000 inhabitants, 1996).

shells), salt production. In addition, some of wetland's zones are available for some kinds of tourism (health tourism, catch

The Adriatic Sea is an oligothropic sea, with the winter temperatures lO-13°C and surnmer ones 22-26 °C. Winds are rarely



Natural and artificial wetlands

and Vrana field near Zadar in Northem Dalmatia, etc. All of

There are few natural wetland resources along Croatian coastal

them have now been transforrned into irrigated and artificial

zone. The biggest swampy area is the Neretva river delta 60 km NW from Dubrovnik. This delta covers an area of cca 100 km2

wetlands which are not any more covered by water, and which have been used as agricultural zones (cereals, vineyards, veg-

of wetlands which were mostly uninhabited until the end of the

etables, etc.). Near Vrana field there is also Vrana Lake where

19th century. The process of irrigation and melioration began in the last decades of 19th e by the taking out fertile mud and forrning soil parcels from the swampy ground. This was known

some attempts of carp fish distributing have been made, but with dubious results. There are some wetlands areas on the Croatian islands too.

as "jendek" forrning process. Mostly, the waterway was the only

They are mostly very small carstic fields temporarily covered

possibility to reach so forrned parcels. The process in delta which was obtained by a new kind of parcelation, continued in the 20th e especially after the World War II, when the process

by water and used mostly as agricultural resources in the summer season. The most interesting examples are two little fields

of private properties integration was forced. The big agriculture pans were forrned through an obliged model of socialist

named Big and Small Lake (Velo i Malo jerezo) in the island of Dugi Otok near Zadar. The names of the fields "Iakes" are direct result of the water that covers them in winter. The lowest

collective management. The transforrnation of the natural into

part of these fields is 30-60 centimetres bellow the sea water

the artificial wetlands here was very quick and it caused many environment problems. As only 10-15 % of natural landscape

level, which causes appearance of sweet water during winter in both fields. The fields are mostly cultivated with some special

remained, the regression of natural flora and fauna was evident.

old sorts of grape, and in surnmer with vegetables. These traditional circumstances and relations could soon be changed by

Very similar process characterises some carstic field zones ("polje") in the coastal zone, too. Temporarily covered by wa-

the recent process of water exploitation inside the existing water supply system. On the islands Susak and Unije, sandy forrnations, partly invaded by erosion, have again been cultivated recently, mostly

ter in winter season, these fields were mostly exploited as very fertile agriculture areas during the surnmer periodo This is the case in Cepic polje in Istrian parto Bokanjacko. Nadinsko blato

with vineyards (Susak), vegetables and cereals (Unije). The

Park Prirode TelasĂŠica, Croatia.

Photo: TjesirnÂŤ MARIC



Adriatic coast, Croatia.

Photo: TjeĂĄimir MARlĂŠ

swampy zone of the island Rab, is al so predominantly cultivated, but old salt and "camphor" pans are not in exploitation

These deposits of medicinal sea mud are found in an area of

any more.

able for threating some rheumatic, postthraumatic, gynaecological, ski n and other diseases. The concept of the future Health

cca 50 hectares. This black and grey organic mud is very suit-

On the contrary, there are many more potential agriculture zones in fields or slopes on the Croatian coast and islands, which

Tourism Centre in Nin is waiting for the initial investments which are estimated to 12 million US dollars. The conceptual

are not originally wetlands. J ust the opposite, these zones need to be additionally supplied by water to enable some types of the

program of the centre includes the realisation of reception tract, therapeutic tracts, ambulance, administration, basins, wardrobes,

local Mediterranean agriculture. Due to insufficiency of rain falls in warmer period from May to August, there is the lack of

mud station, etc. covering an area of almost 2,6 hectares. The whole health tourist area should include also residential part

200 to 400 mm of rains, which depends on location and growing crop. Because ofthe shortage ofwater with suitable quality

covering 0,5 hectares, parking, internal roads and pedestrian zones covering 1,3 hectares, sport and recreation zones, etc.

for irrigation, it is recommended to build water accumulations, covered with plastic sheets. In island conditions, localised irrigation should be applied (so called "drop irrigation",

The similar deposits can be seen also on the mouth of the Karin

microsprinklers). lt is very important to be skilled in water dosage, which depends on ecological principies and experience. Natural medicinal mud deposits (peloid) in Nin and Vela Luka

ing this capacity has be en made.

river in the Bay (Sea) of Karin. So far no program for evaluat-

Salt pans

have contributed to the decision of planning (Nin) and build-

Now there are three salt pans in Croatia, all of them in Dalma-

ing (Vela Luka) health and tourism centres in these two localitieso The mud deposits in Vela Luka on the island of Korcula

tian parto The biggest one is on the island Pag and includes Pan and Dinjiska pans. Smaller pans are in Nin and in Ston. These are

have been exploited for almost 30 years. The therapy block, a hotel and other facilities are well organised, but their capacity is very small. There are many more possibilities near Nin where

the last remains of numerous salt pan s which existed here in the medieval periodo Until the beginning of the 19th C. many salt pans existed along Croatian coast and islands, but almost all of

the biggest medicinal sea mud deposits in Croatia can be found.

them were abandoned and the production stopped. The traditional


way of producing salt from the sea can still be found only in the

are situated near Zadar in Kali (Lamjana, 100-200 tons ayear),

three locations mentioned above. All of the locations use the wetland zones of low swampy areas near the sea coast.

Rovinj (Mari Mima), Pula (Budave). The main reproductive material supplying hatchery is located in Nin near Zadar (Cenmar), the smaller ones in Rovinj, Splitska and on the is-

Mariculture (fish and shell farming)

land Solta. There are plenty of new small farms with the capacity of 10-100 tons ayear (Olib, Iz, Dugi Otok, Kosara, Zizanj, Novaljam Skradin, etc.). In the year 1996 there were entirely

Fishery and shell farming have been here very old activities. Croatian fishery was mentioned in some old documents in the 10th century. Today, beside traditional fishing and shell collect-

25 fish farms in Croatia, 10 of them along the mainland coastline and 15 of them on the islands. "The majority of farms are

ing, some forms of seaculture, especially fish and shell farming, are being more and more developed. The main and the biggest locations of the traditional shellfish farming are Lim Channel (Mari Mima) and the Bay ofMali Ston.

small enterprises, private investments, running family business with an annual production capacity up to 100 tones. But there are three large farms with the production capacity of over

The location in the Sea ofNovigrad was abandoned in sixties and

300 t per year. In spite of production capacity, last year productivity was between 20 and 80 t for small enterprises, and 150-

now it seems to be revitalised again. There are some new locations in Lamjana, northem Peljesac zone , etc. Mostly, in the Croatian Adriatic, oyster (Ostrea edulis), japanese oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) are

400 t for bigger ones" (Sarusic, G. 1996). The total fish farming production in Croatia reached some 1700 tons in 1996 (1000 tons in the island enterprises and 700

cultivated. The production of some 2.000 t of mussel and 1 million pieces of oysters in ayear.

tons on the mainland). The possibilities of eel farming have not yet been realised, The

Fish farming has been developing during last 20 years. "Geographical conditions give the opportunity of rearing site

optimal conditions could be reached in the Neretva delta zone where a traditional eel fishing exists. Until now, the problem of picking sufficient quantity of young reproductive exampIes has made difficult this kind of farming on the Croatian littoral and the import of reproductive material is still too expensive in this case. The main sorts of fish farmed in Croatia are: European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), gilt head (sea bream, Sparus aurata), charp snouted sparus (sheepshead bream, Puntazzo puntazzo), porgy (red sea bread, Pagrus

StonĂŠica, Croatian adriatic.

Photo TjeĂŠimir MARIC

majar) and common dentex (sea bream, Dentex dentex). All these species are reared in one of 4 hatcheries

dispersivity. The coast and the islands possess numerous sheltered bays or locations well protected from severe winds and

Croatia mentioned above. Annual production is about 55 million fingerlings ayear and covers 70 % of requirements. Large enterprises have encircled complete production including reproduction up to marketable fish. "Since number of fish farms

waves. Deciding upon the rearing sites the request is focused on hydrographic, chemical and microbiological parameters and they are included in monitoring conceming applications for fish farm licence" (Sarusic, G. 1996). The biggest fish farms

has remarkable increased in past few years and breeding potentiality consecutively, among small growers, in the first place,




sea. so called semi off- and off- shore fish farming started near Zadar, by moving some old capacities of "Cenmar" from the Bay of Larnjana on the Ugljan island towards the sea channel, which is deeper and more influenced by sea streams. This is a positive process because the shore is again free and not influenced by feeding. Also, the conditions of farming in deeper sea are much better. More streams, more oxygen, less possibilities of different fish diseases, etc. inspires the farms having more than 50 ton year production, to think about their moving towards the open sea. Of course, the tuna farming is also situated Croatian adriatic.



in deeper water conditions in the Iz Channel. "Almost 80% of consumption fish are exported to ltaly and


Bluefin tuna to japan exclusively. Certain foreign interest for mariculture in Croatia is shown by Italian, French, Japanese and

the lack of juveniles from domestic hatcheries affects mainly smaller producers, who are forced to import fry. Bas and bream fry are imported mainly from Italy and France" (Sarusic, G.,

Australian investors. Some activities regarding shareholding and joint-venture have been already actualised" (Sarusic, G. 1996).

1996). Recently in Skradin, near the mouth of the river Krka the farming of trout and salmon has started. The similar production in Knin, 40 km upstream, was stopped because of war

References: Magas, Damir, 1992. Abrasion

(1991-95) causes. Finally, a new tuna farming process (Atlantic bluefin tuna,


Shore Relief of the Island


Sediments, Proceedings ofthe lntemational Symposium

"Geornorphology and sea" Mali Losinj, Zagreb, 119-121.

Thunnus thunnus) started in 1996 near Zadar (island lz) with one year cycle production of 100 ton s in two net ponds. Today

Magas, Damir, 1993. Prometnice malih Jadranskih

there are some new request for opening tuna farms on the Croatian Adriatic (island Iz, Split). The new tuna processing

Magas, Damir, 1995. Povijesno-zemljopisne

otoka, Geografski

glasnik , 55/1993, Zagreb, 151-155. problemi

was financed by some Croatian people from Australia (Tony

njegove suvremene

osnove razvoja Nina y


Zavod za povijesne

znanosti HAZU u Zadru, Djela, knj. 8., Zadar.

Fishing Company, Port Lincoln) who there had already begun tuna farming for the Japanese market. This was one of the first

Magas, Damir, 1996. Croatian lslands - Main Geographical

investments of such a kind on the northem hemisphere and the first one in Europe. Similar to the usual fish feeding, tuna fish

Treer, Tomislav, Safner, Roman, Anicic, Ivica, Lovrinov, Mario, 1995.

feeding is processed in the net ponds, but only with the natural

Tomic, Frane, Romic, Davor, 1994. Potreba y primjena navodnjavanja

political Characteristic,

and Geo-

Geoadria 1/1996, Zadar, 5-16.

Ribarstvo, Zagreb na hrvatskim otocima, Simpozij Strategija odrzivog razvitka hrvatskih

food. Also, there is no need of preparing reproductive tuna population in advance, beca use the feeding process begins with

otoka, Zbomik Radova, Hvar, 269-276. Sarusic, Gordana, 1996. Mariculture on Croatian lslands, the paper pre-

caught adult tunas (15-25 kilos). The process is finished when each tuna reaches the weight of 30-50 kilos and is ready for market. After the first results in 1996 and 1997, some requests

sented at The lntemational Conference: Island and tropical aquaculture (incorporeting

Aquaculture Europe 97), Martinique, May 4-9, 1997.

Seselj, Ante, 1994. Trzlsn! stimulansi

for opening new capacities appeared. It is nevertheless, closely connected with quotas prescribed by European Community. So,




u Hrvatskoj u cilju odnivog razvitka hrvatskih otoka,

Simpozij Strategija odrzivog razvitka hrvatskih otoka, Zbomik Radova, Hvar,285-288.

Croatia is permitted to fish or to farm only 300 ton s of Atlantic tuna a year. As Croatia has produced about 1500 tons of Atlantic tuna a year in the last twenty years (only during the war

Elaborat o mogucnostima izgradnje uzgajalista ribe, skoljaka y rakova u uvali Mala Lamjana, Zavod za urbanizam Zadar, 1992 Zdravstveno

1991-1995 there was a big decrease of the caught tuna), this quota should be changed as soon as possible. The first environmental study considering potential ecologi-

turisticki centar Nin, Feasibility studija gradnje objekta i

uredenja zemljista, Zavod za urbanizam Zadar, 1996. Studija o utjecaju na okolista tuna kod otoka Iza, Konacna studija, Zavod za urbabanizam Zadar, 1996.

cal influences of tuna feeding near island the Iz was made by Zadar Country Institute for Spatial Planning in 1996. DAMIR

Recently, the biggest companies have been trying to move


Department o/ Geography. Faculty o/ Philosophy Zadar Zadar - CROATlA

their fish farms from the in-shore locations to more opened



Report of the survey in the context of an environmental impact study.


The knowledge, description and evaluation of vegetation,


fauna and ecosystem components serve the purpose of biotope characterization and for the evaluation of direct and indirect impact in different sector affected by the realization of a dam on Mogoro river (Paliaga, 1995) within the indications expected from the italian law concerning the environmental (D.P.C.M. 12-28-1985), in particular:



CHECKING ON ITS NATURALITI the study of vegetation, flora and fauna present in the wide environmental system affected by the dam;

Introduction San Giovanni 's marsh is a wetland of international impor-

to put in evidence the presence and the sensibility ofbiotopes or systems with considerable naturalistic interest;

tance and is considered among the transitional zones most significative in Sardinia.

to put in evidence critical area on the basis of documents and literature data recognition and on the basis of direct

San Giovanni belong to the vast extent of marshy lands , near Oristano; reaching an area of 6,000 hectare they are the larger

and indirect (thematic maps) estimate; the description ofthe qualities pertinent to the environmen-

complex in Italy and Europe with a naturalistic value comparable with that ofCamargue (France), Marismas del Coto Donana

tal components explored; The description ofthe impact effects on the vegetation, flora,

(Spain) and Danube river delta (Romania). San Giovanni di Marceddi wetland ecosystem is included

fauna and ecological conditions ofSan Giovanni di Marceddi marsh.

among the main european marshes as regards to protection programs by the Nature Conservation Commission ofthe european

The analysis ofthe three environmental components has been

union and Ramsar convention (La Cava, 1986).

integrated with other specialistic studies in the whole examina-

This biotope was at the beginning of this century connected with the basin of the Mogoro river and successively object of

tion of the environmental system, in which was supposed the realization of the works, with the purpose to focusses on the

manyembankment and diking operations aimed to the enhancement of the fishery production (Paliaga, 1990).

real qualities, to whom relate the impact effects estimated for the building of a dam on Mogoro river.

Within this framework it is clear that the marsh has been

It was considered that such values are inferable by the con-

subjected to adaptation mechanism with such new global hydrodynamic conditions.

sistence, specificity, representativeness, rarity and unicity of the animal and vegetal populations, also the single species and the ecological features of San Giovanni di Marceddi marsh. By this orientation it was described the floristic-vegetationalfaunistic qualities, and those concerning the marsh-Iagoon systemo It has been individuated those situations whose alteration could cause an irreversible loss of quality and therefore must be take into account during the evaluation and judgement, on the whole, of the planned dam. The research campaign has permitted: to qualify different elements from the floristic-vegetatio~alfaunisic and ecositemic point ofwiew and there was possible , their quantitative evaluation; the individuation and description of homogeneous vegetation classes, fauna distribution area, naturalistic emergency etc. quantitatively in evidence on cartography;


The vegetation, even though modified and conditioned by the past land rec1amation, give origin to a typical zonation , sometimes with discontinuity

caused by man-made disturbance

actions(Bocchieri, 1986). The vegetal component In spite of the irreversible alteration from the original conditions, nowadays the vegetation of San Giovanni-Mogoro river wetland system is distinguished and influenced by the ecological factor water. In fact, in conformity with the salt concentration gradient, which increase toward the Mogoro river mouth, different plant communities has been inventoried, exc1usively riparian plants along the Mogoro river and halophytes dominating the San Giovanni habitat. The vegetal component is also influenced by the water flow regime, which permit the distinction within the biotope of two environments: lentic and lotic ecosystems. All that contribute to the habitat variability verified on the basis of the vegetation and fauna biodiverity. From riparian hygrophyle woods ofPopulusalba andPopulus canescens interposed with little grouping of Fraxinus oxycarpa, Ulmus minor, Salix spp and rare individuals o/ Quercus pubescens, there is a progressive transition to secondary degradation of the vegetal covering near the river mouth. This situation is potentially linked to the riparian forest composed of Nerium oleander ,Vitex agno-castus and Tamarix spp, until it reach the most evolved and significative marshy formations of the individuation and description of popuiations significative species (animal and vegetal);

Phragmitetum, Typhetum, Limonietum, Ruppietum.



These botanical entities are object of many scientific re-

proposal to take mitigatory and compensative measures.

search reports related to the wetland conservation problems (Corbetta, 1973). What is in a way surprising is that the vegetal component contribute to maintain high levels of natural

On the basis of these investigations, in this paper we refer on the environmental qualities found in San Giovanni Marsh, the final receptor



of Mogoro river, the humid praire belt

A substantial support on this topic is the mosaic of associa-

physiographically pertaining to the water course and the marshlagoon system.

tions in which are imposed the Salicomietea and PuccinellioSalicomietea as a fringe around San Giovanni di Marceddi marsh. Also The Ruppietum maritimae, Scirpetum maritimi,

The environmental analysis results

Salicomietum fruticosae, Limonietum and Juncetum maritimi, Phragmitetum communis and Typhetum latifoliae constitute very

Since the beginning ofthis century, many works such as irrigation channels and land-drainage ditches has deeply changed

important associations and specific habitats for several animal

the hydrological conditions of the biotope, with the result of influencing the balancing and resilience processes toward new

species, especially birds. The significative quality of this habitat is well represented by the presence of birds, which are useful indicators of

natural equilibrium systems. At present , several naturalness levels should then be evaluated through the presence of charac-

equilibriums complex conceming c1asses, zoological and bo-

teristic plant communities and animals (Birds in particular).

tanical groups, considered and studied during this research.


The animal component From the inventory annexed to our environmental

processes caused by the nutrient loading resulting from domesimpact

tic sewage of80-1 00,000 inhabitants of which only 60% is depu-

study, one could infer the relevant number of species found

rated, as found in the literature. Such obvious contradiction is not recorded in other inland water bodies under human disturbance influence (S 'Ena Arrubia,

along the water course ofMogoro river and in the San Giovanni lentic biotope. In the whole area has been described : 4 species of Amphibians, 14 of Reptiles, 105 of Birds and 12 of Mam-

Molentargius) in Sardinia (AA.VV. ,1994). Therefore, this study, should be deepened with the purpose

mal s for a total amount of 135 species which have allowed to appraise the environmental qualities by the means of index val-

of establish: until which point there is coincidence between bio-

ues such as:

logical quality of the environment (biodiversity) and the quan-

Quantitative Values - Prevalently aquatic species

tity of fish productivity? Or else, the high levels of biological diversity are always indicators coincident with environmental quality levels functional with human requirements?

Qualitative Values - Species included in the annexe 1ofthe 409/79 U.E. Directive - Vulnerable species included in the list of the annexe II pertaining to the Berna Convention. The faunistic quality was evaluated adding up quantitative


and qualitative values in accordance with the following schema:

AA.VV., (1994), Inventario dei biotopi presenti nella fascia costiera della

Numerical value from 0,00 to 4,75 from 5,00 t09,755 from 10,00 to 14,75 from 15,00 to 19,75 over 20,00

Sardegna- R.A.S.

Synthetical judgement very bad

Bocchieri, E. (1986), Le componenti botaniche della fascia costiera del comprensorio

scarce fairly good

di Oristano.

Piano socio-economico

per il XVI

comprensorio della Sardegna. Corbetta F. (1973), Proposta di costituzione del parco natural e degli stagni

good very good

di Oristano, atti III simposio nazionale sulla conservazione della natura. Bari. La Cava et Al. (1986), Individuazione e classificazione dei biotopi piĂş

the faunas value of the whole San Giovanni palustrine system is in short:


in Sardegna centro-occidentale.


Oifesa Ambiente. Paliaga B.(1990), Progetto speciale di ricerca svolto nel comprensorio XVI

Total value 15,50

di Oristano.

Synthetical judgement

Paliaga B.(1995), Studio d'impatto ambientale per un serbatoio sul Rio


Mogoro. Vegetazione, Flora, Fauna, Ecosistemi.

Conclusions On the basis of this research it would seem paradoxical that in a context ofhuman pressure and intense artificiallandscape transformation, the present environmental quality, considered as the sum ofthe flora-vegetation and fauna values, reach this high score. It seems that the homeostatic mechanisms started after the

ANTONloD'AYALA Ecological Institute, Parma University ParmaITALY

Mogoro river deviation (more than seventy years ago) and the successive realization of channelisation and artificial banks has


led to establish biodiversity levels (number of species) higher than those noticed in other marshes less disturbed by human activities. All that happen in apparent contrast with the low fish species productivity, even if eurhyhaline, and the annual dystrophic

SocietĂĄ Italiana per l'Ambiente S.1l.c. Rome ITALY






Studio Associato, lngegneria per l 'Ambiente. Oristano ITALY

108 :;:::>



There is a fishing production of 200 tons annually, and the species in the lake today are 12. Five of them were native and


the rest introduced from other Greek areas or from abroad.



Family Cyprinidae

annually to the national power network, provides water both for water supply as well as for irrigation, helping in a great degree the economy of Thessaly plains. In parallel the whole mountainous area at an altitude of 790 m has grown with a real socio-economic balance. altitude of 792 m, became the attraction poI e for the bird-fauna of the area. The micro-climate became smoother and the whole area changed to a valuable biotope. The Greek Biotope/Wetland Center include the Plastiras Lake to the latest inventory of the wetlands all over Greece' . The case ofTavropos (or Plastiras) lake is afine example of a manmade construction which tumed to be an excellent environment for the fauna and flora species of the greater area. Beyond the

Chub Minnow

Salmo trutta Anguilla anguilla



Scientific name


Cyprinidae Cyprinidae

Carassius auratus gibello

Goldfish Tench

Cyprinidae Coregonidae

Cyprinus carpio Coregonus lavaretus

Salmonidae Salmonidae

Oncorhynchus kisutch Salmo gairdneri


Salvelinus fontinalis


Tinca tinca

Carp Schelly Rainbow trout Salmon Brook charr

The bird fauna is impressive in the Tavropos lake area. The interesting point is that in addition to the usual bird fauna re-

aesthetic upgradation, the construction had a positive influence on the biologic diversity of the area.

lated to the mountainous deciduous forests, the conifers forests



Cyprinidae Salmonidae Anguillidae

Leuciscus cephalus Phoxinellus pleurobipunciatus

Introduced species

Further to the above, year after year the artificiallake, at the


Barbus albanicus

Commonname Albanian barbel


In the year 1956 the Tavropos dam construction began mainly for hydroelectric purposes. Today the plan is adding 250 Gwh

Scientific name

Pipistrellus pipistrellus (pipistrelle, the rare dwarfbat), Canis

or the mountainous cultivations, many endemic or migratory species appear at the lakeside zones. See below Species

Common name

Egretta garzetta Ardea cinerea

Little Egret Grey heron

Anatidae Charadrius dubius

Ducks Little ringed plover

Tringa hypoleucos

Cornmon sandpiper

Seasonal appearance

lupus (wolf), Canis aureus (jackal), Meles meles (badger), Lutra lutra (otter), Capreolus capreolus (roe deer). Abundance The reptiles: Cyrtodactylos kotschyi,

M M(W)


Lacerta trilineata,



** * * ** ** * ** ** * **

Podacris taurica, Ablepharus kitalbelli, Coluber najadum, Elaphe quatuorlineata,


Larus cachinnans Larus ridibundus Sterna hirundo


Black-headed gull Common tem

Alcedo atthis


M R(M)

Anthus pratensis Motacilla jlava

Meadow pipit Yellow wagtail


Phoenicurus ochruros

Black redstart



Natrix natrix and the amphibians: Hyla arborea (the cornmon tree frog), Salamandra salamandra (tire salamander). Many of these species are under protection (EU red book).



& A.L. Mantzavelas (Editors)

1994, lnventory of Greek wetlands as natural re-

M=Migratory, W=Winter visitor, S=Summer visitor, R=Resident

sources Greek Biotope/Wetland

* Rare ** Moderately

xvii+587 pp.


Another important visitor of the area is the vulnerable Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus).

Center (EKBY)


Regarding the other animals, we can refer to the presence of the mammals:

Department o/ Environmental Studies. University o/ the Aegean Mytilini GREECE




Faro - Sicily; Varano and Lesina - Apulia; S.Vitale - Emilia Romagna), three were wetlands (Ghadira and Is-Simar - Malta


Island: Punte Alberete - Emilia Romagna) and one was represented by a series of small salt ponds (Marsalforn Bay - Gozo Island). In this paper we shall analyse bat species occurrence in the different habitat types, including additional information available from the literature concerning the coastal wetland of Vendicari - Sicily (Ragonese, 1985).


Bats were identified by means of mistnetting and ultrasound


recording. The field identification of bats is greatly helped by the use of ultrasound devices which converts the bat's sonar


signal into audible sounds recognisable by human ears or by computer sound analysis program (Kunz, 1988). Mistnetting

Several wetland habitats, such as salt marshes, salt pans and salt works, are known as very important places for biodiversity conservation, for instance for their importance on breeding, migration and wintering of several bird taxa. What is far less known is how do other vertebrate taxa (i. e. Chiroptera) use these habitats, in comparison with other habitat types. During the last ten years, the

Wetlands Coastal lakes S. Vitale Punte Alberete

Associazione per 10 studio e la protezione dei pipistrelli in Italia and


Sail ponds

the Wilderness Studi Ambientali collected data on distribution and abundance of bats through several regions of Italy. Within this field work, one of Varano

the main topics concerned biogeography of bats in the small Mediterranean

Lesina •

Saline di Margherila di Savoia

islands, including the Maltese Archipelago (see Borg et al., 1990; Fiore et al., 1992; Zava & Violani, 1992; Zava & Violani, 1993; Zava et al., 1995a;

Zava et al., 1995b; Borg et al., 1997; Zava et al., in press). During the field


data recording several salt pans and coastal wetlands were visited.

Saline dl Trapanl e Paceco Saline dl Marsala

Study areas and methods

Lago di



Lago di Ganzirri

A number of 13 coastal wet sites were visited (Fig. I). Among these,

IiI Vendicarl

four were salt works (Trapani-Paceco and Marsala - Sicily; Margherita di Savoia - Apulia; Carloforte, S.Pietro


Bay •

Ghadira and Is-Simar

Island - Sardinia); five were artificial or natural coastal lakes (Ganzirri and

Fig. 1 - Geographical distribution of the study areas.




o Salt-ponds â&#x20AC;˘ Coastal lakes â&#x20AC;˘ Salt works

other species, P kuhli resulted usually as the most abundant: we can compare semiquantitative data for the Trapani and Paceco salt works, (37 contacts of P kuhli versus nine of P pipistrellus and three of M. capaccinii) and the Varano lake (23 contacts of P. kuhli versus 11 of P pipistrellus). In one case P pipistrellus was the only found bat (Carlo forte salt





D I Myotn)'O Myocap

D D Pq,pq,





works), while three other species were present in the neighbouring areas, also

D Peaus

with P kuhli as a dominant species in the Carloforte urban area (Zava et al., 1995a).



Fig. 2 - Frequence of occurrence of the considered bat species in the four habitat types. Bat species are indicated with the first three letters of the genus and the species name.

In one case P nathusii was the only species found (S. Vitale man-made coastal

lakes), where P kuhli was found in the nearby cultivated land (Nobi1i et al., 1997). The neighbouring

according to the methods listed by Violani and Zava (1992) permits to handle bats in order to confirm the previous identification "in flight".

habitat types can play a major role in determining which kind of species is present or dominant; in fact, P nathusii is know as

Results and discussion

a forest associated species and it as been found with high levels of abundance in the S. Vitale area, where open woods of Pinus pinea represent the coastal vegetation. For comparison, the coastal lakes of Ganzirri and Faro, close to Messina, are completely sur-

Nine bat species were found in the field, among the 29 known taxa for Italy (30 for the whole of Europe). Three additional species were listed only for the Vendicari area (highlighted with

rounded by roads and buildings and they are used for hunting flights only by P kuhli. From a general point of view, it seems thatP kuhli selects for

an asterisk *). Altogether, we consider two out of the five European Horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum* and R. hipposideros), three out of the 10 species of Myotis (M. capaccinii, M. myotis* and M. blythi), the three European spe-

simple habitat types, such us salt works or built-up areas, while it avoids well structured habitats such us woods or wetlands. Actually, it was just found in one out of the four wetlands ana-

cies of genusPipistrellus (P pipistrellus, P kuhli andP nathusii), on of the two Eptesicus (E. serotinus), on of the two Plecotus

lysed (Vendicari). On the other hand, coastal wetlands appear as the far more species rich areas, with a total of 11 species

(P austriacus) and the genera Earbastella (E. barbastellus) and Tadarida (T. teniotis*).

listed, nine of which present only in this habitat type (see Fig.1); a key species for this habitat can be identified in the Grey long

The species of the genus Pipistrellus appear as the most im-

eared bat Plecotus austriacus, found in all tree directly sampled areas.

portant group. Irrespectively of the habitat type, P kuhli and Ppipistrellus seem to be the most widespread species (Fig. 1). Pkuhli was found in every kind of habitat, in nine out of the 14 areas considered. This is probably the commonest bat in the Mediterranean area: it is well known as a synanthropic and urban bat, overrunning the "common pipistrelle" P pipistrellus

south of the Alps

(Haffner & Stutz, 1986). P pipistrellus was found in six areas, is every kind of habitat except for the salt ponds. P kuhli represented the only bat species found in six of our study areas (Marsala, Margherita di Savoia, Ganzirri, Faro, Lesina, Marsalforn Bay). When observed with

Species R. hipposideros R. ferrumequinum M. myotis M blythi P pipistrellus P kuhli P nathusii E: serotinus P austriacus B. barbastellus T teniotis



Punte Alberete


0 0 0 0




0 0 0


0 0


0 0 0

Table 1 - Occurrence of the bat species in the four coastal wetlands analysed.


It is evident from the data listed in Table 1 that in the wetland habitats the composition in species may change, accordingly to the bat fauna of the region and to the landscape characteristics. Anyway, this is the only habitat type were we found species known to feed mainly on moths (the two Horseshoe bats and P austriacus), or beetles and grasshoppers (respectively M myotis andM blythi, the two largestMyotis species). Eptesicus serotinus and Tadarida teniotis are high level flying species of considerable size, so that they may be found here because they are attracted by insect density and/or insect diversity high over the ground. Salt works, salt ponds and coastal lakes probably show an entomofauna composed mainly small and soft insects, such as Diptera, that my support only Pipistrellus and small Myotis bats such as M capaccinii. From these data, it is apparent that well vegetated wetlands represent the key-stone areas for bat conservation purposes in coastal environments.

BRUNOZAVA Wilderness - Studi ambientali Palermo -ITALY

ELlSABElTADE CARLI LORENZOFORNASARl Dipartimento di Scienze dell 'Ambiente e del Territorio Universita degli Studi Milano -ITALY

CARLOVIOLANI Dipartimento di Biologia Animale, Universita degli Studi, Pavia -ITALY

References Borg. J., Fiore M., Violani C. and B. lava 1990 - Observations on the Chiropterofauna of Gozo, Maltese Islands. Bollettino del Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Torino,Volume 8, n. 2: 501-515. Borg J., Violani C. & lava B. 1997 - The bat fauna of Maltese Archipelago. Myotis, Bono (in press). Fiore M., Violani C. & lava B. 1992 - Chirotteri delle Isole circumsiciliane. I. Vulcano (Eolie). Atti della Soc. Ital. Se, Nat. di Milano. Vol. 132, n.14, pp. 169-180. Haffner M. & Stutz H. P. 1986 - Abundance of Pipistrellus pipistrellus and Pipistrellus kuhli foraging at street-lamps. Myotis, band 23-24, pp. 167-172. Kunz T.K. (eds.) 1988 - Ecological and Behavioral Methods for the Study of Bats. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C., pp. 1-533. Nobili G., Fomasari L., Violani C. & lava B. Indagine sulla Chirotterofauna del Boscone della Mesola (Ferrara). Atti del XIII Convegno del Gruppo Gadio, Venezia 25-27 Maggio 1996" Aspetti Ecologici e Naturalistici dei Sistemi Lagunari e Costieri" (in press). Ragonese B. 1985 - I marruniferi ed altri vertebrati, pp. 49-53. ln A.A.V.V. I Pantani di Vendicari (Sicilia). Natura e Montagna, Bologna, 32 (2-3), pp. 1-79. Violani C. & lava B. 1992 - Metodiche di censimento della Chirotterofauna italiana. Atti del secondo seminario sui censimenti faunistici dei vertebrati. Brescia, 6-9 aprile 1989 Supplemento alle Ricerche di Biologia della Selvaggina, Vol XVI, pp.64 [-645. lava, B. & Violani, C. 1993 - Nuovi dati sulla Chirotterofauna italiana. Bollettino del Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Torino.Vol.lO, n.2, pp. 261-264. lava B., Violani C. & Mannino G. 1994 - Bats of Sicilian islands. Il - Ustica. Mannnalia, Paris, t. 58, n. 2, pp. 261-268. lava B., Fiore M., Fomasari L. & Violani C. 1995 - Note sui Chirotteri dell'Isola di S. Pietro con cenni storici sulla Chirotterofauna Sarda. Biogeographia, XVIIl, pp. 641-651. lava B., Fomasari L & Violani C. New distribution data of the Italian Chiropterofauna. Proceedings of VII European Bat Conference. Olanda, Myotis, Bono (in press).




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Yachting activities have become a potential source of trouble for these crystalline waters, this ecological idyll. Yachtsmen


were the first to discover the natural attractions of the islands, leading to an invasion of their coasts. One of the reasons that has enabled these mainland tourists to be the first to arrive is the fact that they are not dependent on transport time tables.(transport is provided by the national shipping line and represents one of the nerve centres of island development). As you can see, the current situation in the Zadar and Sibenik Islands is a highly contradictory one. The ecological quality of the environment owes nothing to sensible policies based on the principle of sustainable use of natural resources. This environ-

Unlike the big Italian, Spanish, Greek and English islands, which, in reality, are relatively small compared with large oceanic islands, the Croatian islands along the east coast of the Adriatic are tiny, numerous and very sparsely populated. The

mental quality, such as it is at the moment, is due to depopulation. In other words, there is a need for a larger working population, which, in the end, means increasing the amount of fu-

entire chain of more than 1000 islands has a mere 110,000 inhabitants whose age far exceeds the national average. Within the many islands of the archipelago, one can clearly

ture pollutants, but, at the same time, there is a desire to maintain at least the current levels of protection. The Croatian government has addressed the problem, despite its concerns about the occupation of part of its territory

distinguish between the large and the small islands. In my paper; I shall talk to you about the stretch of the Adriatic that encompasses the densest concentration of islands in the Mediterranean; the Zadar and Sibenik archipelago, made up of around

and the war of liberation. Faced with the constant threat of the depopulation of the islands, the government has charged a group of experts and researchers with the task of drawing up a Na-

500 islands and islets. The Kornati Archipelago alone, a national park that is situated in the middle of this chain, consists of 150 islands that do not have a single permanent resident.

tional island development programme (Some copies in English have been handed out to participants). The Programme is based on the principles of sustainable development. It was presented

The 23 inhabited islands of the group have a total population of23, 000 inhabitants, living in 57 towns. Between the last

by Mr. Stare and myself at the Minorca Conference. It has now

two censuses, the total number of deaths in the area was 1620 higher than the number of births, a fact that clearly shows that

been passed by Parliament and will act as a foundation for the future Islands Bill that should start its parliamentary procedures

the islands have a sparse and ageing population. So what have all these figures got to do with a debate about

this autumn.

ecological issues? All the ecological troubles of the Earth are caused by mankind and his influence on the environment. In the Croatian


Adriatic, the fickle nature of island policies throughout this

try to a free market economy has undoubtedly represented a new chapter in the area of conservation and protection. Although

The collapse of communism and the conversion of the coun-

century have had a direct and negative impact on population. The decrease in the population, on the other hand, has had a direct and positive effect on the ecological state of the sea bed and the coastal waters. One can see that the protection of the islands and the ecological balance have developed spontaneously. The lack of a working population has curbed industrialisation. Hotels are very scarce. The only factory in the islands, the canning factory in Sali, on the island of Dugi Otok, and the only ship yard, in Ugljan, only survive because they are necessary, and they have to bring some of their employees across from the mainland. The demographic situation has pre-empted the presence of practically all potential pollutants throughout the towns of the islands.


Savar, Sipnate, Piskera, Lavsa, Hramina, etc. Nowadays, most of these sites are below the surface, because the eastern coast of the Adriatic is sinking at the rate of one millimetre per year, due to geological reasons. Since the introduction of lights in fishing in the 16th century (introduced by Cedollini, an aristocrat from Zadar, in 1512), the Kornati Islands have become the most important fishing grounds of the Adriatic. This is illustrated by the fact that, at one time, the village of Sali (Dugi Otok) had 64 boats equipped for fishing sardine and mackerel. All this information clearly shows that there is a deep-rooted tradition of fishing, fish rearing and canning among the people the effects of the political changes in the country have not yet been felt, everybody is fully aware that it can not be long before

of the islands that must be taken into account when making decisions about their future. Neither can one forget the divers from the island of Krapanj (sponge divers) and the early coral

a wave of investors disembarks in the islands. However impatiently the islanders long for a day that will mean an increase in

divers from the island of Zlarin. The geographic conditions of

population, Everybody knows full well - and experience bears this out - that investors will be seeking a profit without worrying too much about how they achieve it. There is a current of

the area: the length of coast line, rich fishing grounds and a large number of protected bays, combined with the fact that

public opinion, consisting of experts and researchers, that are deeply concerned about the situation.

lands has resulted in a dynamic exploitation of the sea by the local population.

What should be done? How can the future be faced? Who should we turn to? A choice must be made between investments, on the one hand, that would ensure economic development,

The present

and encourage the working population to return to the islands,

with the appearance of phylloxera, up to the present day, the

and the need to preserve an oasis of virgin sea in the heart of

issue of organised conservation of the environment in the islands is one that practically has not been raised. Although the

there is very little arable land available for farming on the is-

From the turn of the century and the exodus from the islands

Europe on the other. Some of the questions that must be asked are whether the two processes are compatible. Whether choos-

Kornati Islands have been declared a National Park, and Telaseica (Dugi Otok) a Nature Park, the ecological situation

ing the former (investment) means forfeiting the benefits of the latter (conservation of nature) and, by the same token, forfeit-

there is no better organised. In fact, I would go as far as to say

ing the expected effects of the investment scenario (the return of the working population).

that the situation in these areas is even worse in as far as they attract a far higher number of visitors.


Although the subject of this meeting is Nature and Workmanship - an issue that will be dealt with more fully by my

Let us look back to the past for a moment.

colleagues - I would like to say a few words about the most

The first records that mention fishing on the eastern shores of the Adriatic, date back to the year 995 A.D. They refer to two

serious ecological threat the Zadar-Sibenik Islands face at the moment; yachting, first of all, followed by tourism in general.

bays in the Zadar Islands: Telaseica on the island ofDugi Otok and Luka, on the island of Molat.


There is ample evidence, however, that dates back much

I said earlier that yachtsmen were, of course, the first to head for the islands. This can be put down to the large number of yacht

further than the Middle Ages. There are countless remains that prove the existence of fishing and sea harvesting (fish farms and salt works) that date back to the times of Ancient Greece and Rome. Some of the fish farms are real archeological gems:

marinas that have been built on the coasts facing the little islands of the Zadar-Sibenik archipelago (see the islands close to the coast).At the moment, between Rogoznica (to the South) and Zadar

The country Villa with its fish pond at Mala Proversa, a fish

(to the north) - some one hundred kilometres in all- there are 19

pond at Svrsata (Kornati), Muline, Vela Stupica (Zirje )..... There are even more remains of salt works: Soline, Veli Rat, Brbinj,

yacht marinas, three of which are in the islands. Six more are either under construction or are in the planning stage.


All these yacht marinas are commercial ones and they are usually sited in areas that, so far, are not built up areas. The rate


of building is frightening and more people want to build new marinas every day. The situation is reminiscent of the early

come from industry (there is not any), from over-population of

The ecological threat to the Zadar - Sibenik Islands does not residents or tourists (which is hardly the case here), or even from sea harvesting (which remains relatively insignificant).

Middle Ages when the value of salt was such that new salt works came into being almost on a daily basis and, sometimes, these salt works were built in exactly the same spot where marinas are being built today.

In this region, for now, the ecological danger remains more of a fear than a reality. As the archipelago is in a state of conservation that surpasses all expectations (without the aid of sound policies or a will of its own), indeed, it is better conserved than

Bearing in mind the appeal of the islands, and the need to conserve them, and bearing in mind the fact that, in some places, the need for protection is no longer because of the importance

certain countries or areas of the Mediterranean, we obviously devote our efforts to conserving its current condition, and even

of the bay in question, this is an issue that must be addressed urgently. Conserving the sea in coastal marinas (that have - or

to improve it as far as possible. This meeting represents an ideal opportunity for us to seek your support for our efforts.

should have - all the necessary hygiene equipment and serv-

What are the limits of ecological tolerance in the Islands?:

ices) is one thing; conservation of the sea, of the sea bed and the coastal waters of the bays of the islands (in quasi-virgin territory) is something else again. As this problem is raised

how many marinas and what kind? How many moorings? How many yachtsmen? We are looking for answers to these questions. Another question that still needs answering is how many

within the context of this workshop and that certain questions

fish and shell fish farming grounds? Everybody knows that the Croatian islands in general, and the Zadar - Sibenik Islands in

remain unanswered, without spending too much time on the subject, I would just like to point out that this issue will be dealt

particular, are under populated, they have an ageing population, there are no school-age children, in short, there are more

with in a workshop programmed for the end of September on the island of 1st (Zadar - Croatia).

deaths than births. Thus, we have a choice: either we should

Current state of affairs: organisation of anchorages in the most appropriate bays, accompanied by land-based, mobile equip-

provide the means to prevent the islands entering into decline the environmental option -, or we should put our trust in the

ment and facilities for yachtsmen. For now, 11 are planned for

good will of businessmen and capital, in order to attract the population back to the islands and foster economic growth.

the island of Zadar, 16 in the Komati Islands and some more in the Sibenik Islands. The objective is to conserve the archipelago

We believe that both options, life and survival linked to a healthy environment and economic growth are possible and are

via ecological monitoring and control, without discouraging yachtsmen from coming altogether.

not mutually exclusive. How? One way of doing it is to put into practise the Sustainable Development Programme, something which will be discussed in the workshop that, as I mentioned before, will take place in September, on the island of 1st.

Sea harvesting Another source of pollution, for now more of a virtual pollutant than an effective one, (which one of the subjects of this workshop is devoted to) is, without doubt, fish rearing and pro-


duction. Fish farming in the islands is a traditional practice that

Zadar Faculty of Arts

dates back to ancient times. Cenmar, from Zadar, was the first company in the Adriatic to work in this field, by opening a fry rearing farm in Nin.


Land Use Planning Department - Zadar Croatia

There are still 6 fish farming grounds in the Zadar Islands, four of which rear sea bass and sea bream and two, since recently, tuna. Production in the Sibenik basin is geared toward shellfish harvesting, especially in the estuary of the river Krka (ten harvesting grounds) and around Rogoznica (four grounds). Recently, two more tuna breeding permits have been issued; one for the island of Zirje and one for the Zut Channel. An environmental impact study is a prerequisite for issuing a permit.


) )


standing throughout the present century to such an extent, that nowadays they form up a united metropolitan area, with a sig-


nificant nucleus in the hinterland (Jerez de la Frontera) and a maximum population approaching one million, and all along a coast of barely more than 80 miles in length ... The Bay of Cadiz' natural shape and structure, and especially its marine environment, confer upon it great scenic, as well as

The Bay of Cadiz is located at the southemmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula. For the past two thousand years it has been sub-

great ecological value. For these reasons the environmental and

ject to a great amount of human activity. Man has gradually spread his activities as well as the area he uses for residential purposes,

territorial authorities consider the upkeep of its waters to be of utmost priority, as in their different guises they are a source of a wide variety of lifeforms, though special mention has to be

around the whole bay, until today practically the complete inner rim has been settled, as well as part of the Atlantic coast.

made of the unique birdlife that inhabits the area. Over the last few decades, almost the whole surface area that

Special mention must be made of the varying environmental types present within the region:

constitutes the Bay of Cadiz has embraced some type of productive function. In the majority of cases, most of the surface area has first been transformed and exploited as salt flats. At a later stage would come infrastructure for overland communica-

The Outer Sea Bay Area: this is the area covered by the sea and which marks the boundaries of the geographical features that constitute the shoreline.

tion, and after that, there would be shipyards and, in the more

The Inner Sea Bay Area: this area is not so greatly exposed to erosion as the previous area, and as such there is a

recent past, the area has accommodated a number of industries and utility installations, not to mention being home to a distinc-

greater degree of silting. The area's dominant feature is a muddy, not very compacted sea bed, which has given rise to

tive extensive and intensive fish-farming industry and thriving seasonal tourism.

a biotope of exceptionally high ecological value. The Marshland Bay: this is the most unique of the areas, as it is made up of land covered by the sea at high tide.

Economic activity in the bay of cadiz

Consequently, it is under the influence of both the land and the sea. The ecosystem that has been created is therefore

reveals the great potential of the area. As such, the Primary Sector participates to a relatively small degree in the Bay. Nevertheless, these kinds of activities should

A consideration of the economic structure of the Bay of Cadiz

both rich and varied, although it is at present impoverished by human activity. This bay-type has given rise to up other

not be undervalued, as they bestow certain specific assets on

characteristic environmental units and scenic features, such as the marshes which have been turned into salt-flats, as

the area which carry great weight from a territorial point of view. Within the Primary Sector, agriculture and cattle farming have

well as dried-up marshland.

declined as time has gone by, due to a growth in built-up areas,

The Land Bay Area: this area is characterised by its high rate of human occupancy with urban residential settlements and industrial and military installations. The bay was originally home to several independent medium sized towns (Cadiz; San Fernando; Puerto Real and El Puerto de Santa Maria), but the bay's very geography -with its low shorelines, where the only obstacles to the sea are the marshes, and the fact that for long periods throughout the year rapid sea-links can be maintained between the different areas of population, mean a habitat has been created where these towns, whilst retaining their own sptcialised economies, have strengthened their bond\nd mutual under-


diversification, and it is now spearheading all of the Bay's economy. Finally, wine-making encompasses a variety of ancillary industries whose production relevance transgresses the bounds of the area we are considering. Within the Tertiary Sector, the greatest importance is given to tourism and trade and commerce. The former has historically been the greatest driving-force behind the area's urban make-up, and not only with regard to the overall functionality of the main town, Cadiz, but also as regards its physical appearance. As for the latter, commerce has been one of the major forces behind the Bay of Cadiz being transformed into a source of prosperity and wealth.

Town and country planning and management of coastal areas and the fact that the remaining unbuilt-up land was liable to flooding.

The prime objective of all the initiatives that have been brought together under this heading, is to support a commitment to at-

There is fishing is not only on the marshes and the salt-flats,

tain a position of "sustainable development". Coastal areas such

but also on coastal waters and further off-shore. Traditionally,

as the Bay of Cadiz constitute an ecosystem with one of the highest rates of human interference. An adverse consequence of this is the loss of natural features along many stretches of the

this has been an important sector, and fishing has been done not only by specialised fishermen, but also by others who have found a means of generating extra income in the activity. From an

shoreline. In some cases there has been such a degree of anthropization, that the original landscape and scenery are un-

economic point of view, off-shore fishing is of greater importance, but due to its possible future importance and present-day

recognisable. This new way of considering the environment, which com-

geographical relevance, special attention must be paid to obtaining food resources from fishing coastal waters.

bines both protectionism and conservationism with a belief that

When one thinks of the Bay ofCadiz and its scenery, it is the salt-flats which most often come to mind. In strictly monetary

it can act as a springboard for local development, demands good scientific and technical knowledge of the local surroundings, as well as requiring suitable co-ordination between the various

terms, however, the salt-flats bear little economic relevance.

administrative bodies; compatibility between the different uses

From the seventies onwards, fish farming has been of great economic importance in the region. Fish production is carried out in the salt-flats, either intensively or semi-intensively, and

the spaces will be put to; an tightening-up of the regulations and legal frameworks, and also the practice of public intervention; the conviction that the shores form part of the cultural

using traditional methods for the most part. At the present time,

heritage; the regulation and recovery of public property when

the salt flats have been left abandoned to such a degree, that there are many where the fish go unchecked. These fish are

and where necessary, etc. Spain has always been a party to this current way of think-

under no control and are able to move unheeded from one saltflat to another. They cannot be "farmed", as such. This type of

ing, which is prevalent throughout Europe, and the Autonomous Regional Community of Andalusia has been one of the regions

economic activity has benefited from the crisis in the salt industry.

which has made the greatest use of powers the central Govern-

The secondary, or transformational sector, employs half the

ment transferred to the country's Autonomous Regions in environmental matters, and has the capacity to produce technical

active workforce in the Bay of Cadiz. Within this sector, the

studies which have lead to the so-called Regional Directives

building and construction sub-sector, which in the past absorbed the exodus of people from the country to the town, is at present in decline. As far as the ship-building industry is concerned,

for the Andalusian Shoreline. The only road that leads to the conservation of natural areas and defining their social and economic usefulness, is by way of

despite originally being regarded as an industry that produced a "single-crop", the need to improve the economic infrastructure of the Bay's transformational sector, 7ead

integrating all the aspects of building, planning and management of coastal areas.

to its inevitable


Protective measures

nise the growth of the metropolitan area with the environment

A high degree of human interference meant that by the end of

as far as was possible.

the seventies the Bay of Cadiz was in a difficult position, and

A large number of steps have been undertaken as a result of this, three of which we would like to draw attention to:

its fundamental problems can be summarised as follows: large stretches of the shores being occupied by residential buildings; large surface areas of marsh land being dried up as they were drained to be turned into irrigated arable land or building land;

One the one hand, the Autonomous Region's Ministry of Public Works and Transport's "Special Plan for the Protection and Improvement of the Physical Environment in the Province of

marshes being silted up and salt flats impoverished as a conse-

Cadiz" - the "PEPMF" (1987) was drawn up and put into action.

quence of inert waste and solid urban refuse dumping; traditional activities being forsaken with the consequent desertion of characteristic salt-works buildings and factories; coastal

As an instrument of town planning this vinculated local town planning, and established two categories of Specially Protected Land, including the Bay's wetland areas. These were Special

waters and sediment being polluted by refuse from the towns

Complete Protection, and Special Compatible Protection. This powerful regulatory instrument was followed up by a

and industrial waste, etc. Such proceedings gave a strong impression that the end result could only be the complete and utter

daring provision: the majority of the Bay was declared to com-

transformation of the Bay into a purely urban area, accommodating residential and industrial activities.

prise a protected area, with the category of Nature Park .. This measure ran great risks of ending up as just good intentions,

A number of citizens groups and technical collectives were conscious of this situation, and when faced with this fact, the

given the complexity of the surroundings and the strength of the transformational processes. Various degrees of protection

Autonomous Region's early administrators set about undertaking far-reaching and wide-ranging action designed to put a halt

compatible with those already stipulated in the above-mentioned "PEPMF" were established in the Autonomous Region's Envi-

to the aggressive processes already underway, and to harmo-

ronmental Ministry's Town and Country Planning Plan for the


Bay of Cadiz's Nature Park's Natural Resources. In this Plan,

Finally, the most pressing problems of water, tideland and sediment pollution were dealt with most rigorously after the

directives are laid down for the management of the area. It was drawn up after the area was declared a Nature Reserve. Both

Correctional Plan for Waste Dumpling in the Bay of Cadiz was

Plans attempt to control building in the area, whilst favouring fishing and cultural activities and affording complete protec-

drawn up by the Autonomous Region's Environmental Ministry (1992). In this Plan a diagnosis of the situation of the Bay is

tion to the natural marshes that still remain. The different areas requiring protection in the Bay of Cadiz can be classified as follows:

undertaken, pinpointing the critical points caused by different kinds of waste dumping. It also brought to light the precarious

Total Protection. This kind of protection is given to the "exceptional wetland areas in the marshland ecosystem". Almost all interference and building is forbidden in these areas, which

At present, pollution in the Bay of Cadiz is being controlled by the granting of Licences for Waste Dumping, with a different

situation of the water quality.

include Trocadero Island and the Puerto Real marshes.

licence required for each different kind of industrial waste. To this end, the Cadiz Provincial Department of the Environment

Special Protection. Agricultural and cattle farms, and for-

carries out periodic checks on companies' effluents. At the same

estry and fishery installations are allowed within these ar-

time, other checks are made on the medium into which the waste is dumped by taking water and sediment samples by means of a Water Policing Plan which the Autonomous Region's Ministry of

eas' including related dwellings. Included in this protection category are "Los Torufios" and the San Femando Marshes. General Protection. Included are those marshes which have

the Environment has been putting into effect since 1989.

been transformed but which were traditionally used as salt


flats. All building work which is not connected to farms or the like is forbidden in these areas.

By way of conclusion, we should like to draw attention to the

Within the Park itself, two areas have been awarded a special classification which gives them additional protection and have been declared Nature Reserves: these are El Trocadero and the

fact that the Bay of Cadiz stands out as a beacon of hope for coastal areas which are subject to strong anthropological uses. A clear public initiative, backed up by an intelligent informa-

Sancti Petri marshlands. These measures mean that these areas

tion policy and administrative stipulations which had immedi-

therefore enjoy the greatest degree of protection. In the rest of the Park, activities related to the gathering of shellfish, and farm-

ate effect upon urban planning, has been shown to be capable of containing the environmental decline of marshes, salt-flats,

ing and fish-farming are regarded as compatible, as long as any building work undertaken does not alter either the morphology

and shores, and acting as a driving force to integrate these area in policies of sustainable development.

or the scenic appearance of the area. These areas can be put to scientific, cultural and leisure use, and the areas of Los Torufios



and the pine woods at La Algaida are especially suited to this. Despite all predictions to the contrary, the application of these

Servicios Omicron s.a. Sevilla SPAI

protective measures, and the land-management of the areas covered in them, have in most cases succeeded in containing degenerative and occupational processes already underway. At the same time, they spread a new wave of collaboration throughout the Bay's municipalities. In these places, environmental factors have been given ever more important and relevant roles, and they are now helping the affected areas to modify their marginal roles, and to unite and take on more important responsibilities within the region, as a whole. Plans of this kind have already been outlined for Los Torufios, a marshland area which has been in danger of being taken over for more than 30 years, - or Rio Arillo, fully restored for leisure and ecological purposes thanks to its old tide-driven mills and sheet water

Photo: Cipriano MARiN. Alberto LUENGO




19~20 JUNE



CONCLUSIONS On 19-20 April 1997 several experts, organisations and agents responsible of mediterranean coastal artificial wetlands met in Paris, at the UNESCO headquarters. The conclusions of the working sessions sum up the main challenges and measures to be adopted to preserve and improve this common heritage.

1. For the last thousand years, salt working, traditional aquaculture, and some coastal ricefields have given rise to

the development of activities, due to the superimposition

the survival of many wetlands in the Mediterranean, in con-

of competition. • the lack of information and social evaluation of the areas

ditions of eco-compatibility and social consensus. 2. The current physical reality of these common European

and associated activities. • technological difficulties in the search for new replacement

spaces reveals a very serious problem, which has taken the form of the threatened disappearance or radical transfor-

activities, compatible with conservation. 5. For several years now, there has been a growing awareness of these problems, which has had a profound effect on pro-

mation of more than 100.000 ha of this type of valuable ecosystem created by man, which represents the most im-

ducers and local administrations, researchers and Non-Governmental Organisations. This is based on the rediscovery

portant and complex group of cultural and coastal landscapes of the Mediterranean. 3. The risk becomes greater when, in many cases, it can be shown that the disappearance of artificial wetlands may lead

of the values and functions of these wetlands, the appreciation of which is slowing increasing, owing to the fact that the majority are located in regions with a semi-arid climate.

to the decline of more extensive neighbouring wetlands.

6. According to the aforementioned reasons, we believe that a rehabilitation of these systems would be fair since:

4. The most frequent causes of this disappearance and/decline are:

• it restores value to the natural environment • it recognises the work undertaken over generations by various groups (salt workers, fishermen, owners, rice

• the loss of profitability of associated production (salt, extensive aquaculture ...). • the absence of product assessment based on the image of eco-compatibility.

growers) • it has been calculated that the salt works and coastal crops play an irreplaceable part in the historical and cultural

• the high maintenance costs of the functional elements and of the constructed work. • unfair market competition concerning the denomination of products (particularly in the case of sea salt).

heritage of the Mediterranean countries. 7. Therefore, we propose the initiation of a common action, aimed at joining the efforts that have been made by the dif-

• the absence of regulations favourable to these activities.

ferent sectors and groups in the European and Mediterra-

• professional training. • competition for land use (town-planning, tourism, indus-

nean fields. 8. The means for carrying out such action should focus on creating awareness and offering information on these Mediterranean coastal areas, which should be considered within

trial sector). • implementation of poorly adapted new production methods: continuous crystallization or ho~ogenous crystallizers for the salt works and certain pr~ctices of intensive

the framework of activities of the international organisms involved, particularly the European Commission and


UNESCO, as well as the active international organisations

• a lack of flexibility in planning and legal restrictions for

(both public and private) and producer associations.


Summary of proposals and recommendations To influence the professional training of young people in order to recover traditional occupations and the development of compatible new activities. It is necessary to work in close collaboration with agricultural bodies (agricultural chambers), local collectives, and professional organisations (trade unions and co-operatives). . To favour framework agreements between the different sectors and producer companies, on a national and regional scale, by encouraging joint campaigns for the image and recovery of lost or potential market niches. To demand that the competent administrations provide precise regulations concerning the use of denominations and a greater control over truthful consumer information.

To favour the introduction of eco-touristic activities as a reevaluation factor and the contribution of complementary economies. The sustainable management of tourism may

On the part of public authorities, to encourage the preferential consumption of eco-compatible products, by explaining to the consumer his/her active participation in the conservation of these wetlands.

be a great ally for the conservation of these areas. To propose urgent solutions for the rehabilitation and re-

To develop quality policies based on labels (craft or eco-

utilisation of these abandoned areas.

logical production, without biological additives, etc.). To take advantage of these labels and denominations of origin, by stating that the majority are from protected areas of international importance: Ramsar site, protected reserves and landscapes, areas included in the Habitat Directory. To recognise eco-compatible activities (salt production, aquaculture, and certain traditional systems of rice produc-

Means of support for the development of this action Information and Sensitization

tion) as essential factors for the conservation of the areas in the guidelines for the planning of natural areas and the man-

1. To constitute the group of areas, organisations and companies present at the meeting as focal points for information and the transfer of experiences.

agement of the coastline. The lack of explicit recognition ofthe value of these activities often penalises and condemns their survival.

2. To incorporate into the information network new points and pilot projects capable of contributing replicative initiatives. 3. To create a specific website on the INSULA server under the name "Nature and Workmanship in the Mediterranean",

To recover the ethnological aspects and patrimonial elements of these areas, due to their extraordinary importance within the European cultural legacy and as a factor for integration and social appreciation.

whose function will be : â&#x20AC;˘ to inform of the value and interest of the different areas, experiences, products and activities. â&#x20AC;˘ to encourage the transfer of experiences and initiatives. â&#x20AC;˘ to favour actions of co-operation and co-ordination. 4. To elaborate a publication that will offer information and awareness to the highest possible number of groups involved in the management, production and conservation of the artificia~ wetlands on the Mediterranean coast. 5. The Mediterranean Salt Route. The development of the Salt Route, based on this experiment, as a European eco-cultural tourist itinerary of great potential and with its own identity.








Poligono Industrial Sant Pere Molanta

Hjalmar DAHM


09734 Olerdola (Vilafranca del Penedes)

Syndicat Intercommunal SICAPG

1, rue Miollis



75015 Paris


F-44 503 Guerande


Tel.: +34 3 8923462


Fax: +34 3 8923500

Tel.: +33 2 51750680


Fax: +33 2 51750800

c/o UNESCO 1, rue Miollis


Antonio D' AYALA

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Tel.: +33 I 45684056 - Fax: +33 145685804

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Tel.: +39 6 70451785



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Pier Giovanni D' AYALA

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Secretary-General INSULA




Tecnopolis Coop.

1, rue Miollis


via Palerrno, 332

75015 Paris




7, Place de Fontenoy


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Tel.: +39 90 361967

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Article 27

Nelson CABRAL Cooperation pour le developpement


101, Av. Jean Jaures,


WWF Italia

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Riserva Naturale «Valle Averto»


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Tel.: +33 146823232


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8-1950 Kraainem

della Provincia di Trapani.

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Tel.: +32 2 7254253



Fax: +32 2 7706563

Antonino CONTI

Yvonne DE SIKE


Musee de l' Homme


Via Notarbartolo, 11

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Area Manager Construcciones Mecanicas Serra SA

l'~errno ITA'tY--


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ITALY Tel.: +39 923873712 - Fax: +39 923873678

75116 Paris +39 338 7056345

Tel.: +33144057315 Fax:+ 33 I 44057344


Filippo DE VITA


ITTICA Mediterranea


Programa Salinas Canarias

Contrada TriglialScaletta

c/o UNESCO I, rue Miollis

J.R. Hamilton n.12 Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Alberto LUE GO

9 I020 Petrosino (TP)

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Te\.: +39 923 986865

e-mail: insula@mai\

Te\.: +34 22 289853 - Fax: +3422 291823

Dagmar DIWOK




Hellenic Saltworks SA

Zadarska Zupanida

(Associazione Cultura Turismo Ambiente)

Asklipiou, I

Bozidara Petranovica 8

Via Scarlatti, 27

10679 - Athens

23000 Zadar

20124 - Milano




Te\.: +30 I 3617450/3617492

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Te\.: +39266984653

Fax: +30 I 3617781

Fax: +3926698093



e-mail: actateam@bbs infosquareit Barbara




Zavod za Urbanizam Zadar

Ecoregional Island Development Network

Miroslava krleze IA

BP 5035


23000 Zadar

34032 Montpellier

c/o UNESCO I, rue Miollis



75015 Paris

Tel./Fax: +38523 311941

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Monique MARC

Tel.: +33 I 45684056 Fax: +33 1 45685804 e-mail: insula@mai\.c1ub-internetJr

Inter-regional Office for the Preservation

Universite Europeenne de I'Environnement

of Natural and Cultural Heritage Piran

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Trg bratstva I

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Fax: +386 66 73562

26 (bus 11)

1060 Brussels




University of the Aegean

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Universite Paris III

Department of Environmental Studies

Fax: +32 2 5390921

(Jeme cycle Tourism & Development)

17, Karadoni sir

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Universite La Rochelle

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23, rue Albert Einstein

Delegation de Croatie

5â&#x201A;Źi51O St Pierre Quiberon

aupres de I'UNESCO



Paris - FRANCE

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Renato NEVES


Srdjan TRUTA


ITTICA Mediterranea


Instituto da Conservacao da Natureza

Contrada Triglia/Scaletta

Centre d'activites regionales - Programme

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Lorenzo VENZI


Te!.: +385 1 2980890 - Fax: +385 12980890

Universita della Tuscia


Via S Camillo de Lellis

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Law Scool University of Zagreb

01100 Viterbo

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Cesari 26


Av Agropolis,

10000 Zagreb

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34090 Montpellier



Tel.: +38514564317




Environment Sector

University of Nice

Universidad Intemacional Menendez Pelayo

c/o Societe GATE

653 BId Joie de Vivre

Palau de Pineda

via Bottai,17


Plaza del Carmen, 4

90100 Palermo


46003 Valencia


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Dipartimento di Economia Agro- Forestale

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SPAIN Te!.: 96 38698017/6 - Fax: 96 3869823

Tel.: +39 91 6116826 Vladimir

Fax: +39916116116


Filozofski Fakultet Zadar


Obala Kralja Petra


Via Pignara, 4

Kresimira IV 2

c/o UNESCO I, rue Miollis

30010 Venezia - Campagnalupia

23000 Zadar

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EUROTEL.: Tourisme en Europe Rurale


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Coastal Regions & Small Islands

Route Mediterraneenne de

1, rue Miollis


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NATURE AND WORKMANSHIP Artificial Wetlands: Threatened Coastal Areas in the Mediterranean Paris, 19-20 June, 1997 PRESIDE.l'I'T


Pierre Lasserre Director UNESCO - Division of Ecological Sciences Dirk Troost Chief of Unit UNESCO-SC/CSI RAPPORTEUR

Pier Giovanni d' Ayala Secretay-General INSULA ASSISTAll(T RAPPORTEUR

Maria Jose Vifials SEHUMED Universidad lntemacional Menendez Pelayo COORDINATOR

Cipriano Marin INSULA




The essence of these areas, their scenic, cultural and ecologi-


cal potential, are factors that lead us to consider the possibility of giving salinas throughout the Mediterranean a common im-


age and identity. An image would provide recognition for these sites and an identity for their products. Visits could be organised along common lines and each action would be reinforced by all the others. The potential and possibilities of the salinas formed the foundation for the meeting of experts that was held at UNESCO (June 1997) as part of the current project. The meeting recom-

The Mediterranean salt culture was founded more than two thousand years ago. Coastal lagoons, estuaries and rocky areas were carefully adapted to create rich landscapes that imitated

mended using the denomination of "The Salt Route in the Medi-

nature. The huge variety of types of salt workings and systems

terranean" as a starting point for organising this initiative. The

that the countries of the Mediterranean basin used for producing salt from seawater have survived as one of the most curious

project would be based on the many pilot schemes that are either already in practise or in an advanced stage of planning.

expressions of symbiosis between the peoples of the Mediterranean and their natural environment.

The initiatives that would make up the focal points of the salt route include: the experiences of Guerande, the Camargue and Hyere (France); the Cabo de Gata, Marismas de Odiel and San

Venice, Ibiza, Corfu, Peccais, Trapani, Cagliari, Torrevieja, Hyeres, are just a few examples of the centres that make up the

Pedro de Pinatar visitors centres in Spain and the Messolonghi

salt route. These sites were showcases of wealth and trade, ba-

experience. Very often, there are already interesting museums and guided tours in operation: Piran, Trapani and Paceco, Musee

rometers of power and witnesses to the constant movement that has always formed an integral part of the civilisations of Mare Nostrum.

des Marais Salants (Guerande) or El Carmen on the island of Fuerteventura. New products are constantly being incorporated

Nowadays, many of the most important aspects of Mediterranean history can be seen in the remains of these salinas. The

in the project, such as the proposals for the salinas of the Bay of Cadiz, Santa Pola, Eivissa, Sant' Antioco, Marsala and the is-

ones that survive along the Mediterranean coasts are outstand-

land ofPag.

ingly valuable and beautiful semi-natural and cultural habitats. Many ofthese are meticulously cared for gardens of the past and areas that now fight for survival amid coastal factories, motorways and housing estates. The surviving salinas bear the scars of the historic battle they have fought this century; surviving miraculously among the drab, uniform landscape that characterises many of man's interventions along the coast in recent years. A deep-rooted awareness that they form part of the common heritage, the work of long-suffering salt workers who have conserved traditional production methods come hell or high water and campaigns by social groups have managed to preserve a large proportion of this legacy. In many areas, conservation has advanced from the point where the need was recognised into the practical stage. Information centres, museums and guided tours have been developed in several active and abandoned salinas, gradually forming one of the most attractive eco-tourism and cultural products of the coasts of Europe.

Harvesting salt in the Salinas of Janubio (Canary Islands)


Photo: IIdefonso AGUlLAR

Traditional salt production could also benefit from the idea of a common Salt Route; something that would enhance the value of an ecological product, as the Guerande experience has shown. Within the framework of this joint project with D.G. XI of the European Commission, INSULA has started to promote the initiative by creating an Internet Web site for the Salt Route that, from the beginning, has included the main centres and sites to visit in the Mediterranean. It should be mentioned that the logo used to launch the project was designed by the late Cesar Manrique, an artist from the island of Lanzarote and one of the first people to propose the idea of conserving the salinas as a common heritage of man and nature, more than ten years

Salinas of the Sado estuary. A show of colours



ago. the Aveiro salinas, located in what was an estuary before it became a lagoon. These salinas date back to the lO'h century and

The Mediterranean Salt Heritage

are one of the major historical centres of salt production. There


are still some 2000 ha. in operation, which form an essential part of the largest wetlands in Portugal.

On the coastal plain that runs from the Douro River in the south, to the mouth of the Mondego River in the north, there

The second group is made up of the Figueira da Foz salinas. The salt industry reached its highpoint, however, in Setubal, around the 1T" century, although

are two major groups of salinas. The first group is made up of

Pliny mentioned it in his writings and praised the excellence and quality of its salt. Many salinas were created in the Sado estuary. In the course of this century, most of these have been converted into rice fields, leaving only the ones around Setubal and A1cacer do Sal. This area currently forms



part of a European Commission Life project. Major salinas were also built in the extensive salt marshes of the Formosa estuary, around Faro, throughout the 18th cen-



tury. Nowadays, production is on the decline (the salinas currently cover an area of 1,100 ha.) and salt is gradually being re-



placed by aquaculture

in the

creeks and channels

of the





Mediterranean coast of Spain. The first is made up of the salinas of the area of the Mar Menor, including the restored salt pans of

One can visit a series of important salinas along the coast between Isla Cristina and Barbate, which account for a large portion of the Andalousian salt marshes. The salinas of the Bay

San Pedro del Pinatar. The second group is made up of the La Mata and Torrevieja salt lagoons, whose salt workings date back to the times of the Moorish occupation of Spain. The third group is in the Salinas de Santa Pola Wil-

ofCadiz (over 5,000 ha.) and those ofIsla Cristina, both in an

derness Area and has more than 1,350 ha. of salt pans in operation. The environmental authorities are carrying out intensive conservation and public awareness tasks in the areas of the first and third groups of salt pans. In Majorca, the remains of two of the ancient salinas are conserved in the south of the island (Salobrar de Campos and Es Trenc). Ibiza and Formentera have two salinas that are inter-related historically but which have created highly differentiated environments. They constitute one of the most interesting and spectacular examples of this kind of habitat in

In the salinas of the Spanish east coast the characteristic traditional architecture merge surprisingly with nature

the Mediterranean. Finally, there is advanced state of neglect, are among the best on this coastline. There are some fine examples of active, well-preserved salinas,

a group of salt pans that form part of the system of lagoons of the Ebro Delta (EIs Alfacs). In the Atlantic the Canary Islands salinas stand out because of their spectacular nature, delicacy and adaptation to the sur-

such as those around Sanlucar de Barrameda, those ofthe Odiel marshes and the Bacuta salt pans of the Huelva sound. There is a biosphere reserve information centre in the Odiel marshes,

rounding landscape.

which deals with some aspects of the salt industry. There is another important group of salinas on the left bank of the Guadalquivir river, near Sanlucar (Nuestra Sra. del Rocio


and Monte Algaida), just opposite the Dofiana National Park, that date back to the 18th century. The Cerrillos (abandoned) and



ronmental management and compatibility between nature and the





Cabo de Gata salinas are on the East Coast of Andalousia. The latter is a prime example of envi-
















salt industry, with a highly active visitors centre. There are three main groups of salinas on the




FRANCE One of the most important active salinas of Europe, with an average yearly production of 1,200,000 metric tonnes (1992) is to be found on the French Mediterranean coast. There are several, historically important salinas in the area. Salt pans of the Bas Languedoc coastal lagoons These include the salinas of Leucate, Agde, Sete and Maugio. The examples mentioned include a wide variety of functions and types of salinas: the Agde saltworks are maintained as an artificial bastion of salt production, after the Thau lagoon silted up; the Ayrolle salinas, located behind the line of sand dunes that form the lagoon. The Paccais salt pans in Aigiies Mortes, which reached its high point in the 17th and 18th centuries when it was one of the region's main sources of The large salinas of southern France shelter many different environments

wealth, currently covers an area of 7,000 ha. Another important group of salinas that are currently being abandoned is made up of the many salt pans that were created along the shores of the Etang de Berre.

The Hyeres salinas These salinas reached their climax in the 16th century when

Salinas of the Camargue The largest industrial saltworks of modem day France are in

salt production here was closely related to the emergence of Genoa as an important trading port. There are two major groups

this area: 10,500 ha. on the island of Camargue and 11,500 ha. in the Petite Camargue. The first group includes the saltworks of Giraud, Caban and Relai, that came into being in the mid 19th

of salt pans in this area: those located on the isthmus in the area of La Capte, and the salinas that are located in the centre of the

century after the works were done to drain the Rhone area.

bay. The Western salinas; the Atlantic coast Although these are not in the Mediterranean area, the salinas of the Atlantic coast of France




AGDE, ~.-. ~






deserve a special mention as a prime example of an interest-


ing intervention that has been


well adapted to the environment. There are reports that date back to before the 9th century in the Presqu'ile that prove just how far back current salt production methods originate. Since ancient times, under the auspices of the Abbeys, the shorres of the marshes were PORTO VECCHIO

converted into salt pans. By the end of the 18th century, there were up to 39 groups of salt


ITALY The salinas of the Italian coasts are divided into three mam areas. o

The salinas of Sicily The salinas that cover much of the coast and the Isola Grande, between Trapani and Marsala, is of great importance. Their origins date back to when the Phoenicians first altered the



coastal lagoons. The Trapani salt museum is the finishing touch to one of the most interesting salinas that still exist. There are several rehabilitation and multiple use projects in the


pipeline, related to the salinas pans all along the Atlantic coast, from St. Suillac to Arcachon.

of this area, that could make the West Coast of Sicily one of the

The fact that by 1846 the "Salines de l'Ouest" reached production figures of more than 220,000 metric tonnes a year and that,

most attractive stops on the salt route. There is another important centre of traditional salt pro-

in the Guerande area alone, there were up to 25,500 workings or crystallising ponds (oeillets) shows just how important these salinas were.

duction on the Southeast coast of Sicily, in the province of Siracusa. Unlike the salinas of Trapani, these are scattered salt pans of a different kind, including the ancient salinas of Pachino, Siracusa, Magnisi and Agusta. Pliny mentioned the

Nowadays, salt production is restricted to the areas of'Guerande, Mes, Noirmoutier and lie de Re, plus some isolated salinas further south, Beauvoir and lie d'Olonne. The Guerande experience is one of the most advanced and exemplary initiatives in enhancing the activities of salt production and eco-tourism, based on one of the most curious of salt habitats in the world, and one that IS most closely adapted to the form of the marshes. It has its own museum and organises guided tours of the area.

The annual training-course attracts many young people. Salinas of Guerande


Photo: Hjalmar DAHM

salt from Agusta (formerly Megara), as the base of the curing industry. The salinas of Sardinia One of the largest salinas of the Mediterranean was devel-









oped in the area around the Stagno di Cagliari. This area alone produced nearly 400,000




metric tonnes of salt a year in the '50s, i.e. half of Italian national production. This area of Sardinia has a long salt-producing tradition. The Sant' Antioco salinas, for which there is an ambitious res-



toration project, is a little fur-



ther west and the salinas of Carlo forte, whose complete lay-









out remains in the very centre oftown, is located on the neigh-




bouring island of San Pietro. Etruscan times. They have now been declared a nature reserve Mainland salinas Amongst the oldest and most interesting

and the authorities organise guided tours. The only salinas on this stretch of the Adriatic coast, heading

salinas are

south, were always the Pescara ones, until you get to the Gulf

Comacchio and Cervia, of which only 600 ha remain in operation, south of the Valli di Comacchio lagoon. The salinas of Cervia form a natural oasis of nearly 1000 ha that dates back to

of Manfredonia, where conditions are more favourable. This has always been a salt-producing area. The largest salinas are those of Trani and Barletta. The large industrial saltworks of Margherita di Savoia, developed by the state and constantly extended since the 19th century, are located in Apulia, on the Lower Adriatic coast. These are the largest salinas currently in operation. The Taranto salinas, on the Ionic coast of Apulia, are worth a visit. Strabo mentioned them in his writings. On the coast of Tuscany, one finds the Orbetello salinas, which have been in operation since the T" century, along with many other small pans that operated all along the Tiber coast,

A quaint traditional way to protect salt from the inclemency of the weather. Salinas ofTrapani (Sicily)


Photo: Cipriano MAR IN

down to Rome.


ones located in the Messolonghi lagoon system and the semi-

The Greecks, unlike other peoples, didn't consider salt as a

traditional salt pans of Tourlis.

product for trade, firstly because it occurred naturally and in


profusion along their coasts. With the exception of the ancient salinas of Corfu, which are now abandoned, the traditional

The salt trade played an essential role on the Adriatic coast. Merchants came from Camiola, Corinth, Stiria, Friuli, Holland and Turkey. As the salt trade was a state monopoly, there was always a certain amount of illegal trade. Salt from Istria, produced


with a new technique since the 14th century that gave it a snow-



white colour, was of excellent quality and highly valued. In the Piran area, man trans-


formed the coastal marshes into genuine salt fields. There is a well-preserved salina that shows the harmony of the complex. The



Piran Saltworks Museum was built on the former salinas in




0 Q:,


1991, becoming one of the European pioneers in this field. There were salt pans all along the north-eastern Adriatic coast; in Secovelj, further south, down to Orsera and the Brioni islands.


The original, primitive salt pans ofIstria are supposed to date back to Roman times. The first real salt saltworks did not play a decisive role on the major historic salt

pans to be developed seem to be the ones on the Brioni Islands. Other salinas were built in the other regions of Istria from the

routes. In Greece, however, there is still an enormous diversity of salinas that represent a synthesis of all the salt-producing

9th century onwards.

techniques of the Mediterranean. Among the most interesting salinas is the primitive Cythera salt pans, the only ones of their kind that remain in Greece, and practically the only ones of their kind in the whole Mediterranean area of the European Union. One can also see a faithful reproduction of the Mediterranean salina layout in the ancient plans of the Milos salt pans. Another aspect that highlights the importance of the traditional Greek salinas is the fact that ten major groups of traditional salt workings are out on the islands, and these present an enormous variety of solutions for the salt industry. In contrast to the decadence of other European regions, in recent years, large saltworks, such as Messi, N. Kessani and M. Evolo, have been mechanised. Other interesting salinas are the

Messolonghi saltworks, a factory open to visitors (Greece)



Photo: Theodora PETANIDOU

Salinas are excellent places for bird-watching

income. The nearby salinas of Trieste, traditionally belonging to the Austrians, reached their high point around 1460-1500 and were gradually abandoned toward the end of the 17th cen-

The salt pans of Trieste, Servola, Zaule and Muggia were well known in the past. Other salinas along this coast included Capodistria, which was operational until the '50s, Isola and Piran.

tury. Of all the Istrian salinas, the most important ones were always Piran. The introduction of the ''petola'' (a mixture of plaster and micro-organisms) from the island of

In five centuries of rule, Venice controlled 90% of all the salt produced in Istria: the Istria salinas were their leading source of

Pag in the salinas of Piran and Capodistria gave the salt produced there the snowwhite colour that made it famous and transformed it into the region's most important trading commodity. Another of the most promising projects for this area of the Mediterranean is based on the island ofPag. Moving down toward the coast of Albania, one can not forget the old salt workings around the Karavasta lagoon, although the ones that remain operational, conserving an important cultural and natural heritage, are the Narta salinas, near the town of VIora, on the northern coast of the lagoon.

Spectacular salinas carved on the coast of Malta


SALINAS OF THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN The salinas of Cyprus have also been famous since the times ofPliny, who claimed that the best salt was the salt produced in Salanis. In the 16th century, Cyprus reached an average level of production of 10,000 tonnes a year. Ever since ancient times, many successful attempts at salt production have been seen along the northern coast of the Black Sea, rich in salt lakes and lagoons. The Greeks used to bring their provisions of salted fish from these shores. In the 19th century, despite the low salinity levels ofthe Black Sea, the Crimea reached production figures of 200,000 tonnes a year. The south coast of the Black Sea, however, has never been suitable for salt production. The Turkish coast has never produced great quantities of salt either, although it has had famous salinas, such as Phokaia, Tragassaean and Priini. This, more than anything, is due to the inhospitable nature of the coastline, which does not permit ships

Salinas make up exceptionally beautiful and biologically rich landscapes

to tie up. Mention must be made ofthe Calmati salinas, near Izmir.

The main salt production centre of Egypt was Damietta, apart

There are excellent examples of Roman type salinas, however, on the Lebanese coast, especially the well-conserved salt pans near Beirut.

from the salt that crystallises naturally in the Mareotis and Fayum lakes. The Egyptians specialised in producing red salt, by mixing red clay or ground terra cotta with the salt.





vc::, .





Lavoriero: the fishing of Mullets and European Bass

By courtesy of: Giampaolo RALLO

Peschiere of the Valle Serraglia in the Venice Lagoon

By courtesy of: Giampaolo




The traditional Mediterranean salinas, along with some of the extensive sea-harvesting grounds and coastal rice fields, form a heritage that is not just of tremendous ecological, cultural and architectural interest, they also represent one of the most impressive man-made landscapes imaginable. Anyone who has visited a working salinas will have felt the power of the landscape. Incapable of explaining the harmony of man's ingenuity, we resort to expressions like beauty or art to describe the delicate balance between the elaborate architecture of the water and the way it blends so exquisitely with the environment.

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To rationalise such perceptions, one must consider the world of the salt pans from the standpoint of many different-disciplines and trades that are either directly related to, or implicitly involved in, this world. Salinas, like some other man-made spaces such as rice fields and extensive sea-harvesting systems, are interesting because of their ideal strategic location, which optimises the


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physical and energy resources of the area, constituting mile stones in the history of their local communities.

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As man-made constructions, they have an obvious architectural value that can be seen in their Cartesian layout, as well as in the beauty of their forms and in the construction of their volumes of stone and sheets of water. The "grid pattern"


territorial image is of obvious interest as a model of intervention that reflects a genuine coastal agriculture, like many of

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the old rice fields and fish farms. The similarities to farming activities are evident in the form of construction, the implements used, the system of irrigation and because yield depends on man's labour and the annual cycle of the sun. The system of production is reminiscent of the order of the plantations in their tidiness and straight lines, and the care taken and the cleanliness employed in the work make it similar to the most classical tradition of gardening. Sea salt production, therefore, would be the .equivalent to "growing" a mineral with a special technique that stamps


landscape gardening on a marine-terrestrial space. As engineering, the salinas inherit the wisdom of the layout of Mediterranean irrigation systems. Water is fed in at a sin-

The diversity of models, A key to understanding the development of these spaces.

gle point with the minimum of effort and the system is designed as a gravity fed one. The layout and design of the salinas are undoubtedly linked to soft energy technology. The

The original concept of the old salinas must have been based on the simple idea of managing the coastal marshes and salt lagoons. The different forms of construction would

different forms of construction of salinas are directly r~lated

have been generated from this concept and reached their

to wind mills or to passive catchment systems; in fact, a salt pan is a prime example of harnessing solar energy.

culmination with the development of the typical elements of Roman pragmatism. The most surprising aspect of the salinas is the fact that they constitute "ceiling technology" whose development has

The extensive use of clay to make waterproof basins and ponds descends directly from the historic tradition of pottery.

been pre-ordained since Roman times. This is due to the fact that it was impossible to find any widely available substance that could out perform clay as an impermeable support in evaporation ponds and crystallisers pans. The only technical advances that have been incorporated in the course of the last two thousand years have been in the implements used, and in water elevating and propulsion devices. Salinas can be divided by production processes, size of the ponds and the harvesting system into the following categories: Intensive Semi-intensive Extensive In the latter group, one must distinguish between traditional and modern continuous crystallisation methods. The basic difference lies in the volume and the surface area of the crystallisers. Especially white salt The Fleur This very

on sunny and dry days, a thin layer of fine, will crystallise at thesurface of the ponds. de Sel (cream of salt) is very appreciated by the gourmets. rare salt is traditionally harvested by women.

In an old intensive salinas, the

crystallisers can be sub-divided into basins of 10 to 40 m2, whereas, in large, modem extensive salinas, the crystallising pans can cover an area of more than 2 ha. But the wealth of

Photo: Hjalmar DAHM

the salinas heritage must also be seen in the different forms of construction and the different materials used. The following The salina as a paleo-industrial artefact is directly related to pottery, through both the materials and the working techniques used. Furthermore, thesalt pans have always been complex worlds as the complementary nature of any saltworks establishes a model of mixed economy. Salterns are usually worked in


conjunction with other activities like fishing, fish/shellfish farming and wetland agriculture, creating an extremely inter-de-


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pendent and ingenious system. All in all, one can say that salt pan architecture, as a form of


landscaping; represents a universe of traditional, local activi-


ties, generating a new environmental balance based up until recently on traditional local trades and economies.

Sketch of a typical Mediterranean-style




c. Marin

& A. Luengo

forms of construction

all the channels and irrigation systems is lined with stone.

can be seen among the coastal salt


pans, the basic differences lying in the layout and size of the crystallising pans:

CRYSTALLISING PAN, where the basins are larger and the salt is harvested once a year. It is the most common

- PRIMITIVE INTENSIVE SALINA ON ROCK, with a circular layout, built with stones and clay banks. Examples only survive in the Canary Islands and in Greece. - INTENSIVE


model and the one that covers the largest area. Most of the Mediterranean coastal salinas are of this kind, as are most of the salt pans of Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, California,


has small crystallising pans, excavated into coastal lime or sand stone, e.g. the famous salt pans of Malta.

the Caribbean and Thailand.

- CLAY COIL INTENSIVE SALINA, typical of the areas of coastal marshes, built by excavation, where the heater is ini-

The heritage of constructions and historic salt technology

tially coil-shaped, e.g. the Phoenician salt pans of the Cadiz

Any salt making device must fulfil two basic principals in

marshes, Guerande or Sado. - OLD INTENSIVE CLAY SALINA, where the heater is

order to work: the control and distribution of water on the one hand, and the progressive concentration of the brine, in

excavated or built with stone walls and the crystallising pans are laid out along irrigation lines. The design is of Roman origin and they can be found in the Balearic Islands, Lebanon,

order to force it to crystallise into salt. Although all evaporation based salt pans must abide by these two principals, the

Tunisia and even in Cape Verde.

depend to a large extent on the geographical circumstances,


the materials used and the technology of the area. Traditionally, salinas have had an enormous variety of elements and systems to choose from to meet these chal-

architecture of the different models described above will

mortar is used as an impermeable support instead of clay, forcing the builders to make much smaller channels. There are some examples still to be found in inland salt pans and in the Canary Islands.

lenges, which altogether, represent an exceptional heritage of the Mediterranean coast. Conservation is not just impor-


tant from a heritage point of view, the elements that make up

Primitive salinas, vestiges of man-made constructions in the Mediterranean coast.


Photo: Alberto LUENGO

boards and props for the edges of heaters, crystallising pans and even irrigation systems where local resources permit. The same principle of unity of resources, which becomes unity of design, is also the basic inspiration for the rest of salt pan architecture. The salt warehouse, houses, the bases of windmills, are all made out of the same stone that is used to build the salt pans, forming an harmonious whole that blends into the landscape.

THE NATURAL VALUE OF SALT PANS ASARTIF1CIAL WETLANDS An Artemia salina, the symbol par excellence of these areas

a salina very often represent a guarantee that a body of water will be maintained and cleaned up. The elements can be divided into:

In simplified terms, one can characterise marine evaporation salinas and most of the coastal fish/shellfish farms as a complex of shallow, hyper-saline canals and pools, in which

- CATCHMENT AND IMPULSION SYSTEMS, that ensure an intake and control of sea water, with a passive system

the physical and chemical factors - temperature, evaporation,

device to raise the water to sufficient

salinity, oxygen content, etc, - vary constantly. Some.of the most important environmental factors - hyper-salinity, for ex-

height to enable the rest of the system to be gravity driven. There is a surprising and imaginative repertoire of passive

ample - and the very fact that the environment as a whole is so variable, make the salt pans, like other artificial coastal

systems that are surprisingly efficient at harnessing the energy of weak tides.

wetlands, a highly unstable habitat. This is one of the factors

or an energy-driven

Active systems obviously include the salt water mills that

that make it impossible for many species to live in such a hostile environment. The ones that can survive are highly

still dot our coasts. One must also stress the number of traditional solutions that were used, like the use of crankshafts, the

specialised species that have adapted almost exclusively to this kind of habitat.


Screw, scoop wheels or animal driven water

The difference between the salt pans and other kinds of

wheels. large pools that concentrate seawater

environments lies in the fact that they form a meeting point between marine and terrestrial environments. The presence,

- THE IRRIGATION SYSTEM, channels that lead the water

in many cases, of fresh or brackish water adds another environmental variant. Basically, it is an ecotone between very

from the impulsion system to the cooking vats and from the

different environments, because of which it presents its typi-

evaporation ponds to the crystallisers.

cal characteristics in an extreme degree. One can find plants

- ACCUMULATORS, from 4째 to 15째.

- THE CRYSTALLISERS, smaller, shallower ponds where the salt is crystallised to 25째. - THE BUILDINGS. The rest of the auxiliary elements that make up the saltworks are the buildings that traditionally formed part of the salinas; the salt warehouse, houses for the salt workers and the defences against run off water. Magnificent examples of these buildings can still be found in Piran, the Bay of Cadiz or in Marsala. One important point concerning the materials used, is the "uniformity" of construction materials that one observes in the typical sections of the different elements of anyone kind of salt pan. This is based on the widespread use of local stone walls (sandstone,

limestone, basalt, etc.), or even wooden

Saltpans are hospitable places for birds


water, apart from all the typical wet land plants (Phragmites

and animals of the existing communities, with some typical species of the ecotone, often only found here, in the same

spp., Thypha spp., Arundo donax, Potamogeton

place and at the same time.

Ceratophyllum spp., etc.), one can also find a series of strik-

Another characteristic of these habitats is their extreme environmental variability, which means that conditions, far from remaining constant, change continually, with constant

ing adaptations to saline and hyper-saline environments (Salicomia spp., Arthrocnemum spp., Sa lso la spp., Suaeda


variations in salinity, water level and in the species that make

spp., Halimione spp., Limonium spp., Atriplex spp., etc.) together with species that are strictly dependent on the geo-

up both plant and animal communities.

graphic location of the salt pans.

The vegetation

The fauna

The variety of plant communities that one finds in these environments is basically due to the presence of a complex

The animal life is more mobile and, therefore finds it easier to adapt as they have the possibility of using this environment

and very complete range of combinations between water salinity, depth and temperature. This leads to the formation of a

as a temporary measure only. This has led to greater variety than amongst the vegetation. Salinity plays an essential role in the diversity of the wildlife of the aquatic environment. The

relatively autonomous ecosystem in each pond or pool that is in continuous communication with its neighbours, offering examples of all kinds of wetland habitats.

concentrations increase and they are replaced by arthropods,

Making an initial distinction between the essentially aquatic

which originate in the pools with lower concentrations, and

and the terrestrial environments, one can find a whole series

small worms. Among the vertebrates, a few fish have managed to adapt to living in some of the shallow pools. These are species that

species that go to make up the zooplankton decrease as salt

of microscopic algae floating in the water, along with elements of phyto-plankton and some higher plants (Lemna spp.,

belong to the Gobius, Blennius, Parablennius and Mugil gen-

Ruppia spp., etc.) that form the basic foodstuff of all the animals that live in these communities. Both in and out of the

era. The predominant residents of the hyper-saline pools are

Cretan-style mill, an usual engine of the Mediterranean wetlands.

Photo: Alberta LUENGO


salt pan to another -, by the periods of flooding, which, in turn, depends on the kind of salt pan and the frequency of the harvest, and by the presence or absence of exposed islets and beaches in the pools.

Artificial wetlands as Cultural Landscapes All the above-mentioned factors together make these areas very special ones. Salinas have an exceptional value added as well, as they generally form one of the most singular and suggestive landscapes of the whole Mediterranean coastline. The value of these environments is currently on the increase and many conservation initiatives have been taken for this very reason. After all, the salinas constitute one of the most harmonious expressions of man's intervention on the coastline. They represent a fine example of how man has used an exhaustive reconnoitring of the terrain and its potential as the basis for harnessing its resources. Moreover, as we have had the chance to see, many of the Mediterranean salt pans shelter an historic and ethnological heritage that still remains to be evaluated.

Sketch of a pumping mill in Trapani. Salt Museum.

The special symbiosis that exists between the design of the crustaceans of the Artemia genus, very often the symbol of

salinas and the environment has been the foundation stone for considering many of these Mediterranean wetlands as Cul-

the wild life of the salt pans, and Aphanius fasciatus, a species of small fish. Both of these species share a common charac-

tural Landscapes. They are understood to be the result of "a wise combination of the work of Nature and the work of Man"

teristic of being able to adapt to varying levels of salinity. The

as the World Heritage Centre defines it and as it has been included in some of the proposals that emerged from

protagonists of the salt pan wild life however, are the birds. The capacity that different species have to make the most of

UNESCO's MaB Programme.

the biotope's resources is truly amazing. Among the most CrPRIANOMARlN, ALBERTOLUENGO, MIQUELMOREY

specialised species in living in salt or brackish water, and, therefore, regular inhabitants of the salt pans, there are flamingos


(Himantopus avosetta).




and avocets




Other groups of birds, like ducks and grebes, use their swimming and diving abilities to find food at greater depths. Some, like the Common Gallinule (Gallinula chloropus), are perfectly adapted to life among the aquatic plants of the edges. The waders are also well adapted to the habitat and can make the most of the food resources to be found in the silt and mud of the shallow pools. Finally, some typically predatory birds, such as the osprey, have specialised in catching fish in these shallow water habitats. It is important to highlight the fact that, from an ornithological point of view, the quality of the salt pan habitats is determined by the water level - which varies enormously from one

Machines and engines used in the traditional salines. Archimedes' screw in Trapani.




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- La Route du Sel dans la Medlterranee

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In developing one of the practical accords reached at the First European Conference on Sustainable Island Develop-

as well as to promote these areas as centres of exceptional ecotourist interest.

ment, INSULA, with the support of the EC-DG XI, created a specific web site on salinas with the aim to promote aware-

The web site will provide information on environmental and

ness among the people responsible of the conservation

cultural aspects, as well as related with heritage and produc-


tion, through the creation of a network of focal points along the Mediterranean coast.

salinas and other artificial wetlands of the Mediterranean coast,

Electronic address: WEB site: E-mail:






Nature and Workmanship


European saltworks at the threshold ofthe 21 st century. Importance, threats, remedies


Mediterranean Salinas distribution, salt production & conservation


11 17 25


The Guerande experience: when economy rhymes with ecology


Bras del Port Salinas. The saltworks owners' view



Management of the Messolonghi saltworks habitat



The salt in Portugal.............................


The Trapani-Marsala coastal area. A project of requalification of the habitat and the environment


Rehabilitation and restructuring of the Tarquinia salt pans



The Salinas ofSant' Antioco (Sardinia)


Secovlje salt pans Landscape Park. The Slovene Ramsar site


Salt pans on Pag Island


«Ses Salines» the Ibiza and Formentera salt pans. Proposals for the future.


The Canary Island salt pans recovery plan


Salinas of Santa Pola



Formentera island salt field. Model of recuperation and maintenance: production of brine microalgae



The "vallicoltura": traditional fish-fanning areas in the Venice lagoon


Restocking on Kerkennah banks - Tunisia



The coastal zone management plan of the region Durresi- Vlora, Albania. A proposal of artificial wetlands integrated planning . Some examples of workmanship along the croatian coastal zone


93 99

The San Giovanni di Marceddi littoral marsh (Oristano, Sardinia): Checking on its naturality



Tavropos Dam: can man-made wetlands to be ecological successes also?


Italian and Maltese salt pans and coastal wetlands. Distribution pattern of the Chiropterofauna


Ecological limits to exploiting the sea


Characteristics of the bay ofCadiz





Nature and Workmanship International Meeting. June -1997. Conclusions


Nature and Workmanship. International Meeting. List of participants


The Salt Route


The Heritage of the Mediterranean Salinas


The Salt Route WEB SITE



Nature and Workmanship  

Editor: Cipriano Marin. Published by: UNESCO, INSULA, DGXI (European Commission). The coastal zones of Europe represent a great wealth. They...

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