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Protecting the Adriatic Sea

Protecting the Adriatic Sea(26.10.2007) In a new comprehensive book, Dr. Davor Vidas, Senior Research Fellow at FNI, takes a look at the key legal issues facing Croatia in the Adriatic Sea.

Issues of marine environmental protection and sustainable use of marine resources have in recent years received a serious attention in public debate in Croatia. This is so with a very good reason: With its long coastline, stretching over 6200 kilometres, including also some 1200 islands, islets and reefs, Croatia owns around 75% of the entire Adriatic Sea coastline. The country’s single most important industry, tourism, is based largely on the preserved and clean marine environment of that marine and coastal area, which is also rich in historical and cultural heritage.

Yet the stakes may be even higher for Croatia: Its maritime, Mediterranean country profile is among the key elements of its national identity and is what makes the country increasingly recognisable worldwide.

At the same time, major challenges for the Adriatic Sea marine environment and biodiversity are on the horizon. Some of those relate to the restructuring of energy flows in Euroasia, and the future role of the Adriatic Sea where new maritime transport routes for hazardous cargo, including oil and gas, are planned. Also control over Adriatic Sea fisheries, and the need for conservation and management measures, is a pressing issue. Moreover, marine delimitation disputes and unresolved maritime boundary issues have emerged in the Adriatic Sea, partly as a consequence of the dissolution of former Yugoslavia. Along with those and other complex questions, Croatia is on its way to EU membership, where careful ballances between national sovereignty and common policies' sphere will need to be made.

Davor VidasVidas sums up Croatia's current challenges with respect to the Adriatic Sea as follows: 'The key question is how to make the right strategic choices and facilitate development, while at the same time preserve the unique marine environment and valuable resources of the marine and coastal areas. And in that context, how can Croatia strike the right balance between national regulation, regional cooperation and global regulatory frameworks in the Adriatic Sea area?'

In the new book, Davor Vidas analyses exactly those questions through 33 essays divided into five parts, elaborating on:
   Strategic and institutional requirements for Croatia’s Adriatic Sea policy.
   The status of the Adriatic Sea and Croatia in emerging oil transportation projects.
   The need for regional cooperation towards designation of the Adriatic Sea as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA).
   Exclusive economic zone (EEZ) issues in the Adriatic Sea.
   Marine delimitation disputes, such as between Croatia and Slovenia.

The book is illustrated with various maps and, while written on the basis of research projects in which the author has been involved, its target audience are not only international law experts but also the more general public.

Citation: Vidas, Davor, Zastita Jadrana ('Protecting the Adriatic Sea'). Zagreb, Skolska knjiga, 2007, 274 p. In Croatian.

Orders: See the publisher's website here.

Book notice in Modern Times Info

Reviews of the book (in Croatian):

Marovic, Dusko Cizmic, 'Zanemareno more Jadransko' ('The Neglected Adriatic Sea'), Slobodna Dalmacija, 9 July 2007.

Staresina, Visnja , 'Obnova hrvatsko-slovenskih pregovora o nerijesenim sporovima' ('The Renewal of Croatian-Slovene Negotiations on Unsettled Disputes'), Lider (business weekly), No 98, Vol 3, 17 August 2007, p. 15.

Further information:
   FNI's research on marine affairs and Law of the Sea
   Project homepage: Marine Environment Protection and Resource Management: The Changing Legal and Policy Framework for the Adriatic Sea
 The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is an independent foundation engaged in research on international environmental, energy, and resource management politics.
The Institute maintains a multi-disciplinary approach, with main emphasis on political science, economics, and international law.

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