The associations gathered in the Green Forum, a network of non-governmental environmental organizations of the Republic of Croatia, are warning that the Maritime Domain Act draft introduces the privatization of public maritime domain and enables the exclusion of the public from the use of maritime domains, which until now have been goods of general use. We appeal that the excessive exploitation of maritime domains must be urgently stopped and that this draft of the Act will result with continuing trend of overbuilding the coast and maritime domains as well as the trend of beach filling of maritime domains, which undeniably causes irreversible damage to the marine environment and our natural landscape.
Expectations from the Adriatic Sea are high. In addition to expecting our sea to produce a source of food, we also expect it to obediently endure all human intervention for the making money purpose. We rarely think about how many of our interventions this living word can endure and still remain obedient and unchanged.
Let’s draw a parallel with the human body as an ecosystem per se. If we are doing heavy physical efforts for a long time while neglecting our health, the collapse of the ecosystem in the form of some disease is almost inevitable. Also, when the body sends us a signal that something is wrong and an examination reveals a disease, we focus on solving the situation and ensuring that the disease does not recur.
The sea is an economically very important resource, but only a protected, healthy and vital marine ecosystem can contribute to further economic as well as sustainable development.
Effective management of resources, while preserving the biodiversity of marine ecosystems, is the backbone of the sustainable development of every modern coastal country. However, there is a decrease in biodiversity in the world as a result of interventions in the use of the coast and the sea, and the exploitation of natural resources, which ultimately leads to the deterioration of the marine ecosystems good condition (Global assessment report global assessment-preview).
The Adriatic Sea is exposed to numerous pressures from growing economic sectors (fishing, tourism, construction…) that are not managed strategically and sustainably. We hope that as Croats we have the ability to understand the importance of our sea not only for profit, but also for the quality of life.
Drafting of the proposal for the Maritime Domain and Seaports Act is underway by the Ministry of the Sea, Transport, and Infrastructure.
The draft of the new Maritime Domain and Seaports Act caused a storm in the public because it encourages the privatization of maritime property in a way that presupposes the possibility of:
- Limiting the general use of concessioned beaches
- Fencing of maritime property and preventing access to a part of maritime property with or without charging a fee for use:
- Construction within the framework of the concession for the economic use of the maritime property ( until now, construction on the maritime property, other than the port, was possible in the context of infrastructure and buildings of public interest);
- Beach filing
It is simply impossible to discuss a maritime domain and ignore that it is made of the sea and the seashore, but that Is exactly what Is happening. Environmental protection Is marginalized both in the expertise of the persons who make up the working group, and in the actual proposal of the Act. The working group that was appointed to draft the textual proposal did not count experts or representatives of organizations from the field of environmental protection among its ranks.The very proposal of the Maritime Domain and Seaports Act contains a number of shortcomings that can lead to the fulfilment of the diametrically opposite goal of the Act itself – namely the destruction of the maritime domains concept as goods of general use, which must be for the benefit and responsibility of all citizens of the Republic of Croatia.
An additional concern is the Article which regulates that “the Government of the Republic of Croatia“ may issue or take a concession regardless of the jurisdiction if a certain project is of interest to the Republic of Croatia or if it is justified“. The privatisation of the common good and services is for the value package of the party in power which brings the acts and that is why such proposition is not surprising. It is completely in accordance with the present relation to the public good, and we have seen what seen what effects the current privatisation has had on the society and the economy.
The greatest illogicality of the Act itself is the forcing privatization of maritime property and the absolute ignoring of the obligation to respect the principles of environmental protection in the entire proposed text of the proposal of this Act, but we would dare to ay and at the conceptual level of the text’s proponent. Ignoring the need to protect the sea and the coast, while emphasizing the aspects of use, takes us back in history for at least 20, if not more, years. It is inadmissible that at a time when the Republic of Croatia itself is bringing a whole range of strategies and other planning documents that impose green development, sustainable principles and encourage us to green our ideas, that one proposal for a legislative Act envisages the exploitation of the largest natural resource of the Republic of Croatia without a single mechanism or guarantee of preservation.
The associations gathered in the Green Forum sent a statement to the relevant state bodies and sent a request for the inclusion of representatives of the Green Forum in the Working Group.
You can read statement in its entirety, in Croatian. HERE.