The ADRIATIC SEA /ˌeɪdriˈætᵻk/ is a body of water separating
Italian Peninsula from the
Balkan peninsula and the Apennine
Mountains from the
Dinaric Alps and adjacent ranges. The Adriatic is
the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean
Sea , extending from the
Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian
Sea ) to the
northwest and the
Po Valley . The countries with coasts on the
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina ,
Slovenia . The Adriatic contains over 1,300 islands,
mostly located along its eastern, Croatian coast. It is divided into
three basins, the northern being the shallowest and the southern being
the deepest, with a maximum depth of 1,233 metres (4,045 ft). The
Otranto Sill, an underwater ridge, is located at the border between
the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. The prevailing currents flow
counterclockwise from the Strait of Otranto, along the eastern coast
and back to the strait along the western (Italian) coast. Tidal
movements in the Adriatic are slight, although larger amplitudes are
known to occur occasionally. The Adriatic's salinity is lower than the
Mediterranean's because the Adriatic collects a third of the fresh
water flowing into the Mediterranean, acting as a dilution basin . The
surface water temperatures generally range from 30 °C (86 °F) in
summer to 12 °C (54 °F) in winter, significantly moderating the
Adriatic Basin 's climate.
Sea sits on the Apulian or Adriatic Microplate , which
separated from the
African Plate in the
Mesozoic era . The plate's
movement contributed to the formation of the surrounding mountain
chains and Apennine tectonic uplift after its collision with the
Eurasian plate . In the Late
Oligocene , the Apennine Peninsula first
formed, separating the
Adriatic Basin from the rest of the
Mediterranean. All types of sediment are found in the Adriatic, with
the bulk of the material transported by the Po and other rivers on the
western coast. The western coast is alluvial or terraced , while the
eastern coast is highly indented with pronounced karstification .
There are dozens of marine protected areas in the Adriatic, designed
to protect the sea's karst habitats and biodiversity . The sea is
abundant in flora and fauna—more than 7,000 species are identified
as native to the Adriatic, many of them endemic , rare and threatened
The Adriatic's shores are populated by more than 3.5 million people;
the largest cities are
Trieste and Split . The
earliest settlements on the Adriatic shores were Etruscan , Illyrian ,
and Greek . By the 2nd century BC, the shores were under
control. In the
Middle Ages , the Adriatic shores and the sea itself
were controlled, to a varying extent, by a series of states—most
Byzantine Empire , the
Serbian Empire , the Republic of
Venice , the
Habsburg Monarchy and the
Ottoman Empire . The Napoleonic
Wars resulted in the
First French Empire
First French Empire gaining coastal control and
the British effort to counter the French in the area, ultimately
securing most of the eastern Adriatic shore and the
Po Valley for
Austria . Following
Italian unification , the Kingdom of
an eastward expansion that lasted until the 20th century. Following
World War I
World War I and the collapse of
Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman
Empire, the eastern coast's control passed to
Yugoslavia and Albania.
The former disintegrated during the 1990s, resulting in four new
states on the Adriatic coast.
Yugoslavia agreed on their
maritime boundaries by 1975 and this boundary is recognised by
Yugoslavia's successor states, but the maritime boundaries between
Slovenian, Croatian, Bosnian-Herzegovinian, and Montenegrin waters are
Albania agreed on their maritime boundary in
Fisheries and tourism are significant sources of income all along the
Adriatic coast. Adriatic
Croatia 's tourism industry has grown faster
economically than the rest of the
Adriatic Basin 's. Maritime
transport is also a significant branch of the area's economy—there
are 19 seaports in the Adriatic that each handle more than a million
tonnes of cargo per year. The largest Adriatic seaport by annual cargo
turnover is the Port of
Trieste , while the
Port of Split is the
largest Adriatic seaport by passengers served per year.
* 1 Geography
* 1.1 Bathymetry
* 1.2 Hydrology
* 1.3 Temperature and salinity
* 1.4 Climate
* 1.5 Population
* 2 Coastal management
* 3 Geology
* 3.1 Seafloor sediment
* 3.2 Coasts
Biogeography and ecology
* 4.1 Flora and fauna
* 4.2 Protected areas
* 4.3 Pollution
* 5 Name
* 6 History
* 6.1 Roman era
* 6.3 Early modern period
* 6.4 Modern period
* 6.5 Late 20th century
* 7 Boundaries
* 7.2 Disputes
* 8 Economy
* 8.1 Fishing
* 8.3 Transport
* 8.4 Oil and gas
* 9 See also
* 10 References
* 10.1 Bibliography
* 11 External links
Sea is a semi-enclosed sea, bordered in the southwest
by the Apennine or
Italian Peninsula , in the northwest by the Italian
Friuli-Venezia Giulia , and in the northeast by
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina ,
Montenegro , and Albania
Balkan peninsula . In the southeast, the Adriatic
to the Ionian
Sea at the 72-kilometre (45 mi) wide
Strait of Otranto .
International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) defines the
boundary between the Adriatic and the Ionian seas as a line running
from the Butrinto River 's mouth (latitude 39°44'N) in
Albania to the
Karagol Cape in
Corfu , through this island to the Kephali Cape (these
two capes are in latitude 39°45'N), and on to the Santa Maria di
Leuca Cape (latitude 39°48'N). It extends 800 kilometres (500 mi)
from the northwest to the southeast and is 200 kilometres (120 mi)
wide. It covers 138,600 square kilometres (53,500 sq mi) and has a
volume of 35,000 cubic kilometres (8,400 cu mi). The Adriatic extends
northwest from 40° to 45° 47' north, representing the Mediterranean
's northernmost portion. The sea is geographically divided into the
Northern Adriatic, Central (or Middle) Adriatic, and Southern
Adriatic. The Adriatic
Sea drainage basin encompasses 235,000 square
kilometres (91,000 sq mi), yielding a land–sea ratio of 1.8. The
drainage basin's mean elevation is 782 metres (2,566 ft) above sea
level, with a mean slope of 12.1°. Major rivers discharging into the
Adriatic include the Po,
Soča , Krka ,
Neretva , Drin , Bojana , and
Vjosë . In the late 19th century,
Austria-Hungary established a
geodetic network with an elevation benchmark using the average
Sea level at the Sartorio pier in
Italy . The
benchmark was subsequently retained by
Austria , adopted by Yugoslavia
, and retained by the states that emerged after its dissolution . In
Slovenia adopted a new elevation benchmark referring to the
upgraded tide gauge station in the coastal town of
Koper . Bay
Kotor , a ria in the Southern Adriatic Gjipe Canyon in the
Albania where the Adriatic
Sea meets the Ionian
Length in kilometres of Adriatic coastlines
Notes: a The distance between the extreme points of each state's
coastline, b Not including islands in coastal lagoons
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
Sea contains more than 1,300 islands and islets , most
along the Adriatic's eastern coast—especially in Croatia, with 1,246
counted. The number includes islands, islets, and rocks of all sizes,
including ones emerging at ebb tide only. The Croatian islands
include the largest—
Krk , each covering about the same area
of 405.78 square kilometres (156.67 sq mi)—and the tallest—
whose peak reaches 780 metres (2,560 ft) above sea level. The islands
Cres and the adjacent
Lošinj are separated only by a narrow
navigable canal dug in the time of classical antiquity ; the original
single island was known to the Greeks as Apsyrtides. The Croatian
islands include 47 permanently inhabited ones , the most populous
among them being Krk,
Korčula and Brač. The islands along the
Adriatic's western (Italian) coast are smaller and less numerous than
those along the opposite coast; the best-known ones are the 117
islands on which the city of
Venice is built. The northern shore of
the Greek island of
Corfu also lies in the Adriatic
Sea as defined by
the IHO. The IHO boundary places a few smaller Greek islands (ones
northwest of Corfu) in the Adriatic Sea. Adriatic islands off
Croatia 's coast
Depth of the Adriatic
The Adriatic Sea's average depth is 259.5 metres (851 ft), and its
maximum depth is 1,233 metres (4,045 ft); however, the North Adriatic
basin rarely exceeds a depth of 100 metres (330 ft). The North
Adriatic basin, extending between
Trieste towards a line
Zadar , is only 15 metres (49 ft) deep at its
northwestern end; it gradually deepens towards the southeast. It is
the largest Mediterranean shelf and is simultaneously a dilution basin
and a site of bottom water formation. The Middle Adriatic basin is
south of the Ancona–
Zadar line, with the 270-metre (890 ft) deep
Middle Adriatic Pit (also called the Pomo Depression or the Jabuka
Pit). The 170-metre (560 ft) deep
Palagruža Sill is south of the
Middle Adriatic Pit, separating it from the 1,200-metre (3,900 ft)
deep South Adriatic Pit and the Middle Adriatic basin from the South
Adriatic Basin. Further on to the south, the sea floor rises to 780
metres (2,560 ft) to form the Otranto Sill at the boundary to the
Ionian Sea. The South
Adriatic Basin is similar in many respects to
the Northern Ionian Sea, to which it is connected. Transversely, the
Sea is also asymmetric: the Apennine peninsular coast is
relatively smooth with very few islands and the
Monte Conero and
Gargano promontories as the only significant protrusions into the sea;
in contrast, the Balkan peninsular coast is rugged with numerous
islands, especially in Croatia. The coast's ruggedness is exacerbated
Dinaric Alps ' proximity to the coast, in contrast to the
opposite (Italian) coast where the
Apennine Mountains are further away
from the shoreline.
Schematic layout of Adriatic
surface currents benthic currents
The coastal water dynamics are determined by the asymmetric coasts
and the Mediterranean seawater's inflow through the Straits of Otranto
and further on along the eastern coast. The smooth Italian coast
(with very few protrusions and no major islands) allows the Western
Adriatic Current's smooth flow, which is composed of the surface's
relatively freshwater mass and the bottom's cold and dense water mass.
The coastal currents on the opposite shore are far more complex, due
to the jagged shoreline, several large islands and the Dinaric Alps'
proximity to the shore. The last produces significant temperature
variations between the sea and the hinterland, which leads to the
creation of local jets. The tidal movement is normally slight,
usually remaining below 30 centimetres (12 in). The amphidromic point
is at the mid-width east of Ancona.
The normal tide levels are known to increase significantly in a
conducive environment, leading to coastal flooding; this phenomenon is
most famously known in Italy—especially Venice—as _acqua alta _.
Such tides can exceed normal levels by more than 140 centimetres (55
in), with the highest tide level of 194 centimetres (76 in) observed
on 4 November 1966. Such flooding is caused by a combination of
factors, including the alignment of the
Moon , meteorological
factors such as sirocco related storm surges, and the basin's
geometric shape (which amplifies or reduces the astronomical
component). Moreover, the Adriatic's long and narrow rectangular shape
is the source of an oscillating water motion (French : _seiche _)
along the basin's minor axis. Finally,
Venice is increasingly
vulnerable to flooding due to coastal area soil subsidence . Such
unusually high tides resulting in flooding have also been observed
elsewhere in the Adriatic Sea, and have been recorded in recent years
in the towns of
Šibenik as well. A
submarine spring near
Omiš , observed through sea surface rippling
It is estimated that the Adriatic's entire volume is exchanged
Strait of Otranto in 3.4±0.4 years, a comparably short
period. (For instance, approximately 500 years are necessary to
exchange all the Black
Sea 's water.) This short period is
particularly important as the rivers flowing into the Adriatic
discharge up to 5,700 cubic metres per second (200,000 cu ft/s). This
rate of discharge amounts to 0.5% of the total Adriatic
Sea volume, or
a 1.3-metre (4 ft 3 in) layer of water each year. The greatest portion
of the discharge from any single river comes from the Po (28%), with
an average discharge from it alone of 1,569 cubic metres per second
(55,400 cu ft/s). In terms of the annual total discharge into the
entire Mediterranean Sea, the Po is ranked second, followed by the
Neretva and Drin , which rank as third and fourth. Another
significant contributor of freshwater to the Adriatic is the submarine
groundwater discharge through submarine springs (Croatian : _vrulja_);
it is estimated to comprise 29% of the total water flux into the
Adriatic. The submarine springs include thermal springs , discovered
offshore near the town of
Izola . The thermal springwater is rich with
hydrogen sulfide , has a temperature of 22 to 29.6 °C (71.6 to 85.3
°F), and has enabled the development of specific ecosystems. The
inflow of freshwater, representing a third of the freshwater volume
flowing into the Mediterranean, makes the Adriatic a dilution basin
for the Mediterranean Sea. The Middle and South Adriatic Gyres (SAG),
are significant cyclonic circulation features, with the former being
intermittent and the latter permanent. The SAG measures 150 kilometres
(93 miles) in diameter. It contributes to the flow of bottom water
from the Adriatic to the Levantine Basin through the Ionian Sea.
Through that process, the Adriatic
Sea produces most of the East
Mediterranean deep water.
TEMPERATURE AND SALINITY
The Adriatic's surface temperature usually ranges from 22 to 30 °C
(72 to 86 °F) in the summer, or 12 to 14 °C (54 to 57 °F) in the
winter, except along the western Adriatic coast's northern part, where
it drops to 9 °C (48 °F) in the winter. The distinct seasonal
temperature variations, with a longitudinal gradient in the Northern
and transversal gradient in the Middle and Southern Adriatic, are
attributed to the continental characteristics of the Adriatic Sea: it
is shallower and closer to land than are oceans. During particularly
cold winters, sea ice may appear in the Adriatic's shallow coastal
areas, especially in the
Venetian Lagoon but also in isolated shallows
as far south as
Tisno (south of Zadar). The Southern Adriatic is
about 8 to 10 °C (14 to 18 °F) warmer during the winter than the
more northerly regions. The Adriatic's salinity variation over the
year is likewise distinct: it ranges between 38 and 39 PSUs . The
southern Adriatic is subjected to saltier water from the Levantine
_ As seen from the map, most of the landmass surrounding the
Adriatic sea is classified as Cfa_, with the southern region (near the
Ionian sea ) being _Csa_.
According to the
Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification , the upper half of
the Adriatic is classified as humid subtropical climate (_Cfa_), with
wetter summers and colder and drier winters, and the southern Adriatic
are classified as hot-summer Mediterranean climate (_Csa_) . The air
temperature can fluctuate by about 20 °C (36 °F) during a season.
The predominant winter winds are the bora and sirocco (called _jugo_
along the eastern coast). The bora is significantly conditioned by
wind gaps in the
Dinaric Alps bringing cold and dry continental air;
it reaches peak speeds in the areas of Trieste,
Senj , and Split ,
with gusts of up to 180 kilometres per hour (97 kn; 110 mph). The
sirocco brings humid and warm air, often carrying Saharan sand causing
rain dust .
Climate characteristics of some major Adriatic cities
MEAN TEMPERATURE (DAILY HIGH)
MEAN TOTAL RAINFALL
World Meteorological Organization
World Meteorological Organization
Most populous urban areas on the Adriatic coast
Sources: 2011 Croatian census, Italian National Institute of
Statistics (2011), 2011 Albanian Census
On the Adriatic Sea's coasts and islands, there are numerous small
settlements, and a number of larger cities. Among the largest are
Bari, Venice, Trieste, and
Rimini in Italy, Split,
Koper in Slovenia. In
total, more than 3.5 million people live on the Adriatic coasts.
There are also some larger cities that are located very near the
coast, such as the Italian cities of
MOSE Project north of
Lido di Venezia
Venice , which was originally built on islands off the coast, is most
at risk due to subsidence, but the threat is present in the Po delta
as well. The causes are a decrease in sedimentation rate due to loss
of sediment behind dams, the deliberate excavation of sand for
industrial purposes, agricultural use of water, and removal of ground
The sinking of
Venice slowed after artesian wells were banned in the
1960s, but the city remains threatened by the _acqua alta_ floods.
Recent studies have suggested that the city is no longer sinking,
but a state of alert remains in place. In May 2003, then-Prime
Silvio Berlusconi inaugurated the
MOSE project (Italian :
_Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico_), an experimental model for
evaluating the performance of inflatable gates. The project proposes
laying a series of 79 inflatable pontoons across the sea bed at the
three entrances to the Venetian Lagoon. When tides are predicted to
rise above 110 centimetres (43 in), the pontoons will be filled with
air and block the incoming water from the Adriatic Sea. This
engineering work is due to be completed by 2014.
Adriatic Microplate boundaries
Geophysical and geological information indicate that the Adriatic Sea
Po Valley are associated with a tectonic microplate
—identified as the Apulian or Adriatic Plate —that separated from
African Plate during the
Mesozoic era . This separation began in
the Middle and
Late Triassic , when limestone began to be deposited in
the area. Between the
Late Cretaceous , the Adriatic and
Apulia Carbonate Platforms formed as a thick series of carbonate
sediments (dolomites and limestones), up to 8,000 metres (26,000 ft)
deep. Remnants of the former are found in the Adriatic Sea, as well
as in the southern
Alps and the
Dinaric Alps , and remnants of the
latter are seen as the
Gargano Promontory and the
Maiella mountain. In
Eocene and early
Oligocene , the plate moved north and north-east,
contributing to the
Alpine orogeny (along with the African and
Eurasian Plates ' movements) via the tectonic uplift of the Dinarides
and Alps. In the Late
Oligocene , the motion was reversed and the
Apennine Mountains\' orogeny took place. An unbroken zone of
increased seismic activity borders the Adriatic Sea, with a belt of
thrust faults generally oriented in the northeast–southwest
direction on the east coast and the northeast–southwest normal
faults in the Apennines, indicating an Adriatic counterclockwise
rotation. An active 200-kilometre (120 mi) fault has been identified
to the northwest of Dubrovnik, adding to the Dalmatian islands as the
Eurasian Plate slides over the Adriatic microplate. Furthermore, the
fault causes the Apennine peninsula's southern tip to move towards the
opposite shore by about 0.4 centimetres (0.16 in) per year. If this
movement continues, the seafloor will be completely consumed and the
Sea closed off in 50–70 million years. In the Northern
Adriatic, the coast of the Gulf of
Trieste and western
gradually subsiding, having sunk about 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) in the
past two thousand years. In the Middle Adriatic Basin, there is
Permian volcanism in the area of
Komiža on the island of
Vis and the volcanic islands of Jabuka and Brusnik . Earthquakes have
been observed in the region since the earliest historical records. A
recent strong earthquake in the region was the 1979 Montenegro
earthquake , measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale . Historical
earthquakes in the area include the 1627 Gargano peninsula and the
Dubrovnik earthquakes, both followed by strong tsunamis. In the
last 600 years, fifteen tsunamis have occurred in the Adriatic Sea.
Sediment billowing out from Italy's shore into the Adriatic
All types of seafloor sediments are found in the Adriatic Sea. The
Northern Adriatic's comparatively shallow seabed is characterised by
relict sand (from times when the water level was lower and the area
was a sandy beach), while a muddy bed is typical at depths below 100
metres (330 ft). There are five geomorphological units in the
Adriatic: the Northern Adriatic (up to 100 metres (330 ft) deep); the
North Adriatic islands area protected against sediments filling it in
by outer islands (pre-
Holocene karst relief); the Middle Adriatic
islands area (large Dalmatian islands); the Middle Adriatic
(characterized by the Middle Adriatic Depression); and the Southern
Adriatic consisting of a coastal shelf and the Southern Adriatic
Depression. Sediments deposited in the Adriatic
Sea today generally
come from the northwest coast, being carried by the Po, Reno ,
Tagliamento , Piave and
Soča rivers. The volume of sediments
carried from the eastern shore by the
Zrmanja , Krka,
Dragonja , Mirna , Raša and
Neretva rivers is
negligible, because these sediments are mostly deposited at the river
mouths. The Adriatic's western shores are largely either alluvial or
terraced , whereas the eastern shores are predominantly rocky, except
for the southernmost part of the shore located in
consists of sandy coves and rocky capes.
The eastern Adriatic shore's Croatian part is the most indented
Mediterranean coastline. Most of the eastern coast is characterised
by a karst topography, developed from the Adriatic Carbonate
Platform's exposure to weathering. Karstification there largely began
after the Dinarides' final uplift in the
Oligocene and the
when carbonate deposits were exposed to atmospheric effects; this
extended to the level of 120 metres (390 ft) below the present sea
level, exposed during the
Last Glacial Maximum . It is estimated that
some karst formations are from earlier sea level drops, most notably
Messinian salinity crisis . Similarly, karst developed in Apulia
from the Apulian Carbonate Platform. Rocky coast of
The largest part of the eastern coast consists of carbonate rocks,
while flysch (a particular type of sedimentary rock) is significantly
represented in the Gulf of
Trieste coast, especially along Slovenia's
coast where the 80-metre (260 ft) Strunjan cliff —the highest cliff
on the entire Adriatic and the only one of its type on the eastern
Adriatic coast—is located, on the
Kvarner Gulf coast opposite Krk,
Dalmatia north of Split. Rocks of the same type are found in
Albania and on the western Adriatic coast.
There are alternations of maritime and alluvial sediments occurring
Po Valley , at the Adriatic's north-west coast, and as far west
Piacenza , dating to the
Pleistocene as the sea advanced and
receded over the valley. An advance began after the Last Glacial
Maximum, which brought the Adriatic to a high point at about 5,500
years ago. Since then, the Po delta has been prograding
(expanding/extending). The rate of coastal zone progradation between
1000 BC and 1200 AD was 4 metres (13 ft) per year. In the 12th
century, the delta advanced at a rate of 25 metres (82 ft) per year.
In the 17th century, the delta began to become a human-controlled
environment, as the excavation of artificial channels started; the
channels and new distributaries of the Po have been prograding at
rates of 50 metres (160 ft) per year or more since then. There are
more than 20 other rivers flowing into the Adriatic
Sea in Italy
alone, also forming alluvial coastlines, including the lagoons of
Venice , Grado and
Caorle . There are smaller eastern Adriatic
alluvial coasts—in the deltas of the Dragonja, Bojana and Neretva
BIOGEOGRAPHY AND ECOLOGY
Sea is a unique water body in respect of its overall
biogeochemical physiognomy. It exports inorganic nutrients and imports
particulate organic carbon and nitrogen through the Strait of
Otranto—acting as a mineralization site. The exchange of the
substances is made more complex by bathymetry of the Adriatic
Sea—75% of water flowing north through the strait recirculates at
Palagruža Sill and North Adriatic adds no more than 3 – 4% of
water to the South Adriatic. This is reflected in its biogeography
and ecology , and particularly in the composition and properties of
its ecosystems . Its main biogeographic units are the Northern
Adriatic, the Central Adriatic, and the Southern Adriatic.
FLORA AND FAUNA
The unique nature of the Adriatic gives rise to an abundance of
endemic flora and fauna. The Croatian National
Action Plan identified more than 7,000 animal and plant species in the
Adriatic Sea. The Central Adriatic is especially abundant in endemic
plant species, with 535 identified species of green , brown and red
algae . Four out of five Mediterranean seagrass species are found in
the Adriatic Sea. The most common species are _
Cymodocea nodosa _ and
Zostera noltii _, while _
Zostera marina _ and _
Posidonia oceanica _
are comparably rare.
A number of rare and threatened species are also found along the
Adriatic's eastern coast; it is relatively clearer and less polluted
than the western Adriatic coast—in part because the sea currents
flow through the Adriatic in a counterclockwise direction, thus
bringing clearer waters up the eastern coast and returning
increasingly polluted water down the western coast. This circulation
has significantly contributed to the biodiversity of the countries
along the eastern Adriatic coast; the common bottlenose dolphin is
frequent in the eastern coast's waters only, and the Croatian coast
provides refuge for the critically endangered monk seal and sea
turtles. Recent studies revealed that cetaceans and other marine
megafaunas , that were once thought to be vagrants to Adriatic Sea,
migrate and live in the semi-closed sea on larger scales. Largest of
these live normally is the fin whale , and sperm whale , the largest
of toothed whales also migrate but less common than fin whales,
followed by Cuvier\'s beaked whales . Basking sharks and manta rays
are some of migrant species to the sea. Historical presences of
depleted or extinct species such as North Atlantic right whales
(extinct or functionally extinct), atlantic gray whales (extinct), and
humpback whales have been speculated as well.
The Northern Adriatic in particular is rich in endemic fish fauna.
Around thirty species of fish are found in only one or two countries
bordering the Adriatic Sea. These are particularly due to or dependent
upon the karst morphology of the coastal or submarine topography; this
includes inhabiting subterranean habitats, karst rivers, and areas
around freshwater springs. There are 45 known subspecies endemic to
the Adriatic's coasts and islands. In the Adriatic, there are at least
410 species and subspecies of fish, representing approximately 70% of
Mediterranean taxa, with at least 7 species endemic to the Adriatic.
Sixty-four known species are threatened with extinction, largely
because of overfishing. Only a small fraction of the fish found in
the Adriatic are attributed to recent processes such as Lessepsian
migration , and escape from mariculture .
Isole Tremiti protected area
The biodiversity of the Adriatic is relatively high, and several
marine protected areas have been established by countries along its
coasts. In Italy, these are
Miramare in the Gulf of
Trieste (in the
Northern Adriatic), Torre del Cerrano and
Isole Tremiti in the Middle
Adriatic basin and Torre Guaceto in southern Apulia. The Miramare
protected area was established in 1986 and covers 30 hectares (74
acres) of coast and 90 hectares (220 acres) of sea. The area
encompasses 1.8 kilometres (1.1 mi) of coastline near the Miramare
promontory in the Gulf of Trieste. The Torre del Cerrano protected
area was created in 2009, extending 3 nautical miles (5.6 km; 3.5 mi)
into the sea and along 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) of coastline. Various
zones of the protected area cover 37 square kilometres (14 sq mi) of
sea surface. The
Isole Tremiti reserve has been protected since 1989,
while the Tremiti islands themselves are part of the Gargano National
Park . The Torre Guaceto protected area, located near
Carovigno , covers a sea surface of 2,227 hectares (5,500 acres) and
is adjacent to the Torre Guaceto State Reserve covering 1,114 hectares
(2,750 acres) of coast and sharing an 8-kilometre (5.0 mi) coastline
with the marine protected area. Furthermore, there are 10
internationally important (Ramsar) wetland reserves in
along the Adriatic coast.
Kornati national park
There are seven marine protected areas in Croatia:
Brijuni and the
Lim Canal off the
Istria peninsula's coast, near
Pula and Rovinj
Telašćica in the Middle Adriatic basin,
Zadar ; and
Bay of Mali Ston (Croatian : _Malostonski
Mljet in southern Dalmatia. The
Brijuni national park
encompasses the 743.3-hectare (1,837-acre) archipelago itself and
2,651.7 hectares (6,552 acres) of surrounding sea; it became a
national park in 1999. The Lim Canal is a 10-kilometre (6.2 mi) ria
of the Pazinčica river. The
Kornati national park was established in
1980; it covers approximately 220 square kilometres (85 sq mi),
including 89 islands and islets. The marine environment encompasses
three quarters of the total area, while the island shores' combined
length equals 238 kilometres (148 mi).
Telašćica is a nature park
Dugi Otok in 1988. The park covers 69 kilometres (43
mi) of coastline, 22.95 square kilometres (8.86 sq mi) of land and
44.55 square kilometres (17.20 sq mi) of sea. The
Bay of Mali Ston is
located at the border of
Croatia and Bosnia–Herzegovina, north of
Pelješac peninsula. The marine protected area covers 48 square
kilometres (19 sq mi). The
Lastovo nature park was established in
2006, and it includes 44 islands and islets, 53 square kilometres (20
sq mi) of land and 143 square kilometres (55 sq mi) of sea surface.
Mljet national park was established in 1960, covering a
24-square-kilometre (9.3 sq mi) marine protection area. In addition,
there is a Ramsar wetland reserve in Croatia—the
Karavasta Lagoon in
In Slovenia, the marine and coastal protected nature areas are the
Sečovlje Salina Landscape Park , Strunjan Landscape Park , Škocjan
Inlet Nature Reserve , and the
Debeli Rtič , Cape Madona and Lakes in
Fiesa natural monuments. The
Sečovlje Salina Landscape Park was
established in 1990, covers 721 hectares (1,780 acres), and includes
four nature reserves . In 1993, the area was designated a Ramsar
site; it is also a site of international importance for waterbird
species. The 429-hectare (1,060-acre) Strunjan Landscape Park was
established in 2004 and comprises two nature reserves. It includes a
4 kilometres (2.5 mi) long cliff, the northernmost Mediterranean salt
field and the only Slovenian lagoon system. It is also the
northernmost point of growth of some Mediterranean plant species. The
Škocjan Inlet Nature Reserve was established in 1998 and covers 122
hectares (300 acres). The
Debeli Rtič natural monument covers 24
hectares (59 acres), the Cape Madona natural monument covers 12
hectares (30 acres), and the Lakes in Fiesa natural monument, with
the coastal lake as the only brackish lake in Slovenia, covers 2.1
hectares (5.2 acres).
Albania established its first marine protection area, the
Karaburun-Sazan National Marine Park at the Karaburun Peninsula where
the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet. The park covers a total of 12,570
hectares (31,100 acres). Two additional marine protection areas are
planned in Albania: the
Cape of Rodon (Albanian : _Kepi i Rodonit_)
Porto Palermo . In addition,
Albania is home to two Ramsar
Karavasta Lagoon , and
Butrint . Neither
Montenegro have or plan to establish any
marine protection areas.
Sea ecosystem is threatened by excessive input of
nutrients through drainage from agricultural land and wastewater
flowing from cities; this includes both along its coast and from
rivers draining into the sea—especially from the
Po River . Venice
is often cited as an example of polluted coastal waters where
shipping, transportation, farming, manufacturing and wastewater
disposal contribute to polluting the sea. A further risk is presented
by ballast water discharge by ships, especially tankers . Still, since
most of the cargo handled by the Adriatic ports, and virtually all
liquid (tanker) cargo handled by the ports, is coming to—not coming
from—the Adriatic Basin, the risk from ballast water (from tankers
expelling ballast water then loading in the Adriatic) remains minimal.
However, proposed export oil pipelines were objected to specifically
because of this issue. Oil spills are a major concern in terms of
potential environmental impact and damage to tourism and fisheries.
It is estimated that if a major oil spill happened, a million people
would lose their livelihoods in
Croatia alone. An additional risk is
presented by oil refineries in the
Po River basin where oil spills
have occurred before, in addition to accidents occurring in the
Adriatic already, so far with no significant environmental
consequences. Since 2006,
Italy has been considering the construction
of an offshore and an onshore LNG terminal in the Gulf of
Trieste , as
well as a pipeline, in the immediate vicinity of the
Slovenian–Italian border. The Slovenian government and
municipalities, the municipal council of Trieste, and
non-governmental organisations have voiced concern over their
environmental hazards, effect on transport and effect on tourism.
Another source of pollution of the Adriatic is solid waste. Drifting
waste—occasionally relatively large quantities of material,
especially waste plastic—is transported northwest by the sirocco.
Air pollution in the
Adriatic Basin is associated with the large
industrial centres in the
Po River valley and the large industrial
cities along the coast.
Yugoslavia established a joint commission to protect the
Sea from pollution in 1977; the organization later changed
Montenegro replacing Yugoslavia. Future
pollution hazards are addressed and pollution hotspots are assessed
not only by nations in the basin but also through regional projects
World Bank support. 27 such hotspots have been determined as of
2011, 6 warranting an urgent response.
The origins of the name _Adriatic_ are linked to the Etruscan
Adria , which probably derives its name from the
Illyrian _adur_ meaning water or sea. In classical antiquity , the
sea was known as _Mare Adriaticum_ (_Mare Hadriaticum_, also sometimes
simplified to _Adria_) or, less frequently, as _Mare Superum_, " upper
sea". The two terms were not synonymous, however. _Mare Adriaticum_
generally corresponds to the Adriatic Sea's extent, spanning from the
Venice to the Strait of Otranto. That boundary became more
consistently defined by Roman authors—early Greek sources place the
boundary between the Adriatic and Ionian seas at various places
ranging from adjacent to the Gulf of
Venice to the southern tip of the
Peloponnese , eastern shores of
Sicily and western shores of
_Mare Superum_ on the other hand normally encompassed both the modern
Sea and the sea off the Apennine peninsula's southern coast,
as far as the Strait of
Sicily . Another name used in the period was
_Mare Dalmaticum_, applied to waters off the coast of
The names for the sea in the languages of the surrounding countries
include Albanian : _Deti Adriatik_; Emilian : _Mèr Adriatic_;
Friulian : _Mâr Adriatic_; Greek : Αδριατική θάλασσα
_Adriatiki Thalassa_; Istro-Romanian : _Marea Adriatică_; Italian :
_Mare Adriatico_; Serbo-Croatian : _Jadransko More_ /
Јадранско море; Slovene : _Jadransko Morje_; Venetian :
_Mar Adriàtico_. In Serbo-Croatian and Slovene, the sea is often
referred to as simply _Jadran_.
Pula Arena , one of the six largest surviving Roman
Settlements along the Adriatic dating to between 6100 and 5900 BC
Dalmatia on the eastern coast, related to the
Cardium Pottery culture. During classical antiquity, Illyrians
inhabited the eastern Adriatic coast, and the western coast was
inhabited by the peoples of Ancient
Italy , mainly Etruscans, before
Roman Republic 's rise. Greek colonisation of the Adriatic dates
back to the 7th and 6th centuries BC when
Epidamnos and Apollonia were
founded. The Greeks soon expanded further north establishing several
cities, including Epidaurus ,
Black Corcyra , Issa and Ancona, with
trade established as far north as the
Po River delta, where the
emporion (trading station) of
Adria was founded.
Roman economic and military influence in the region began to grow
with the creation by 246 BC of a major naval base at Brundisium (now
Brindisi ), which was established to bar Carthaginian ships from the
Adriatic during the
Punic Wars . This led to conflict with the
Illyrians , who lived in a collection of semi-Hellenized kingdoms that
covered much of the Balkans and controlled the eastern shore of the
sea, resulting in the
Illyrian Wars from 229–168 BC. The initial
Roman intervention in 229 BC, motivated in part by a desire to
suppress Illyrian piracy in the Adriatic, marked the first time that
Roman navy crossed that sea to launch a military campaign. Those
wars ended with the eastern shore becoming a province of the Roman
Republic. However, resistance to Roman rule continued sporadically
Rome did not completely consolidate control of the region until
Augustus 's general
Tiberius put down the
Great Illyrian Revolt , a
bitter struggle waged from 6 to 9 AD. Following the repression of
the revolt the Roman province of Illyricum was split into
Pannonia . Most of the eastern shore of the Adriatic was part of
Dalmatia, except for the southernmost portion, part of the province of
Macedonia , and the peninsula of
Istria on the northern part of the
Istria contained the important Roman colony at
was incorporated into the province of
During the Roman period Brundisium, on the western shore, and
Apollonia and Dyrrachium (originally called Epidamnos, now
Albania) on the eastern shore became important ports. Brundisium was
linked by the Via Appia road to the city of Rome, and Dyrrachium and
Apollonia were both on the
Via Egnatia , a road that by about 130 BC
the Romans had extended eastward across the Balkans to Byzantium
Constantinople , now
Istanbul ). This made the sea passage
across the Adriatic between Brundisium and Dyrrachium (or Apollonia) a
link in the primary route for travelers, trade, and troop movements,
Rome and the East. This route played a major role in some of
the military operations that marked the end of the
Roman Republic and
start of the imperial period . Sulla used it during the First
Mithridatic War . During Caesar\'s Civil War , there was a
three-month delay in Caesar\'s Balkan campaign against
when winter storms on the Adriatic and a naval blockade held up Mark
Antony from reaching him from Brundisium with reinforcements; after
the reinforcements finally arrived Caesar made an unsuccessful attempt
to capture Dyrrachium before the campaign moved inland. Marc Antony
and Octavian (later Augustus) crossed the Adriatic to Dyrrachium with
their armies in their campaign against two of Caesar's assassins,
Brutus and Cassius , that culminated in the
Battle of Philippi .
Brundisium and Dyrrachium remained important ports well after the
Roman period, but an earthquake in the 3rd century AD changed the path
of a river causing Apollonia's harbor to silt up, and the city to
Another city on the Italian coast of the Adriatic that increased in
importance during the Roman era was
Ravenna . During the reign of
Augustus it became a major naval base as part of his program to
Roman navy to better protect commerce in the
Mediterranean. During the 4th century AD the emperors of the Western
Roman Empire had moved their official residence north from
Milan ) in order to be better able to control the
military frontier with the Germanic tribes. In 402 AD, during a period
of repeated Germanic invasions of Italy, the capital was shifted to
Ravenna because nearby marshes made it more defensible, and the
Adriatic provided an easy escape path by sea. When the Western Empire
fell in 476 AD
Ravenna became the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom
In the Early
Middle Ages , after the Roman Empire\'s decline , the
Adriatic's coasts were ruled by
Ostrogoths , Lombards and the
Byzantine Empire . The
Ostrogothic Kingdom ruled
Italy following the
fall of the Western
Roman Empire in 476 AD. However, during the reign
Byzantine Empire sent an army under the general
Belisarius to regain control of Italy, resulting in the Gothic War
(535–554) . The Byzantines established the Exarchate of
by 553 AD their viceroy (Exarch) ruled almost the entire Italian
peninsula from that city. In 568 AD the Lombards invaded northern
Italy, and over the course of the next century or so the importance of
the Exarchate declined as the territory under Lombard control expanded
and as the Byzantine outpost of
Venice became increasingly
independent. In 752 AD the Lombards overthrew the Exarchate, ending
the influence of the
Byzantine Empire on the western shore of the
Adriatic for a few centuries.
The last part of the period saw the rise of the Carolingian Empire
and then the Frankish Kingdom of
Italy , which controlled the Adriatic
Sea's western coast, while Byzantine
Dalmatia on the east coast
gradually shrunk following the Avar and Croatian invasions starting in
the 7th century. The Republic of
Venice was founded during this
period and went on to become a significant maritime power after
receiving a Byzantine tax exemption in 1082. The end of the period
brought about the Holy
Roman Empire 's control over the Kingdom of
Italy (which would last until the
Peace of Westphalia in 1648), the
establishment of an independent Kingdom of
Croatia and the Byzantine
Empire's return to the southern Apennine peninsula. In addition, the
Papal States were carved out in the area around
Rome and central Italy
in the 8th century. The Republic of
Venice was a leading
maritime power in Europe
Middle Ages in the Adriatic
Sea basin saw further
territorial changes, including the Norman conquest of southern Italy
ending the Byzantine presence on the
Apennine peninsula in the 11th
and 12th centuries (the territory would become the Kingdom of Naples
in 1282) and the control of a substantial part of the eastern
Adriatic coast by the Kingdom of Hungary after a personal union was
Croatia and Hungary in 1102. In this period, the
Venice began to expand its territory and influence. In
Fourth Crusade was diverted to conquer
Zadar at the behest
of the Venetians—the first instance of a Crusader force attacking a
Catholic city—before proceeding to sack
Constantinople . In the
Venice established itself as a leading maritime nation .
During much of the 12th and 13th centuries,
Venice and the Republic of
Genoa were engaged in warfare culminating in the
War of Chioggia ,
ousting the Genoese from the Adriatic. Still, the 1381 Treaty of
Turin that ended the war required
Venice to renounce claims to
Dalmatia, after losing the territory to Hungary in 1358. In the same
Republic of Ragusa was established in
Dubrovnik as a
city-state after it was freed from Venetian suzerainty.
Dalmatia in 1409 and held it for nearly four hundred
years, with the republic's apex of trading and military power in the
first half of the 15th century. The 15th and the 16th centuries
brought about the Byzantine Empire's destruction in 1453 and the
Ottoman Empire 's expansion that reached Adriatic shores in
Montenegro as well as the immediate hinterland
of the Dalmatian coast, defeating the Hungarian and Croatian armies
at Krbava in 1493 and Mohács in 1526. These defeats spelled the end
of an independent Hungarian kingdom, and both Croatian and Hungarian
nobility chose Ferdinand I of the
House of Habsburg
House of Habsburg as their new
ruler, bringing the
Habsburg Monarchy to the shore of the Adriatic
Sea, where it would remain for nearly four hundred years. The
Ottomans and Venetians fought a series of wars , but until the 17th
century these were not fought in the Adriatic area. Ottoman raids on
the Adriatic coasts effectively ceased after the massive setback in
Battle of Lepanto in October 1571.
EARLY MODERN PERIOD
Battle of Lissa , 1811
In 1648, the Holy
Roman Empire lost its claim on its former Italian
lands, formally ending the Kingdom of Italy; however, its only outlet
on the Adriatic Sea, the
Duchy of Ferrara , was already lost to the
Papal States. The 17th century's final territorial changes were
caused by the Morean or Sixth
Ottoman–Venetian War , when in 1699
Venice slightly enlarged its possessions in Dalmatia. In 1797, the
Venice was abolished after the French conquest . The
Venetian territory was then handed over to
Austria and briefly ruled
as part of the Archduchy of
Austria . The territory was turned back
France after the Peace of Pressburg in 1805, when the
territory in the Po valley became an integral part of the new
Napoleonic Kingdom of
Italy . The new kingdom included the province
Romagna , thus removing the Papal State from the Adriatic coast;
Dalmatia were joined into a set of
separate provinces of the French Empire : the
Illyrian Provinces .
These were created in 1809 through the
Treaty of Schönbrunn ; they
represented the end of Venetian rule on the eastern Adriatic coast, as
well as the end of the Republic of Ragusa. The Adriatic
Sea was a
minor theatre in the Napoleonic Wars; the Adriatic campaign of
1807–1814 involved the British
Royal Navy contesting the Adriatic's
control by the combined navies of France,
Italy and the Kingdom of
Naples. During the campaign, the
Royal Navy occupied Vis and
established its base there in Port St. George . The campaign reached
its climax in the 1811 Battle of Lissa , and ended with British and
Austrian troops seizing the coastal cities on the eastern Adriatic
coast from the French. Days before the Battle of Waterloo, the
Congress of Vienna awarded the
Illyrian Provinces (spanning from the
Trieste to the
Bay of Kotor ) to Austria. The Congress of
Vienna also created the
Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia which
encompassed the city of Venice, the surrounding coast and a
substantial hinterland, and was controlled by Austria. In the
Apennine peninsula's south, the
Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was formed
in 1816 by unifying the kingdoms of Naples and
Battle of Lissa , 1866
The process of
Italian unification culminated in the Second Italian
War of Independence , resulting in the
Kingdom of Sardinia annexing
all territories along the western Adriatic coast south of Venetia in
1860, and the 1861 establishment of the Kingdom of
Italy in its place.
The Kingdom of
Italy expanded in 1866: it annexed Venetia , but its
navy was defeated in the Adriatic near Vis . Following the
Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 and the Croatian–Hungarian
Settlement of 1868, the control of much of the eastern Adriatic coast
was redefined. The cisleithanian (Austrian) part of Austria-Hungary
spanned from the
Austrian Littoral to the Bay of Kotor, with the
exception of the
Croatian Littoral mainland. In the territory outside
the Austrian Littoral, special status was given to
Fiume (modern day
Rijeka ) as a separate part of the Kingdom of Hungary . The rest of
the territory was made a part of the
Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia ,
which in turn was also in the Transleithanian part of the dual
monarchy. The Adriatic coastline controlled by the
Ottoman Empire was
reduced by the
Congress of Berlin in 1878, through recognition of the
independence of the Principality of
Montenegro , which controlled the
coast south of the
Bay of Kotor to the Bojana River. The Ottoman
Empire lost all territories along the Adriatic following the First
Balkan War and consequent 1913 Treaty of London that established an
independent Albania. _ SMS Szent István_ moments before its
sinking by the Italian MAS
World War I
World War I Adriatic Campaign was largely limited to blockade
attempts by the Allies and the effort of the
Central Powers to thwart
the British, French and Italian moves.
Italy joined the Allies in
April 1915 with the Treaty of London , which promised
Austrian Littoral, northern Dalmatia, the port of
Vlorë , most of the
eastern Adriatic islands and
Albania as a protectorate . The treaty
provided the basis for all the following divisions between
Yugoslavia. In 1918, the Montenegrin national assembly voted to unite
with the Kingdom of
Serbia , giving the latter access to the Adriatic.
Another short-lived, unrecognised state established in 1918 was the
State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs , formed from parts of
Austria-Hungary, comprising most of the former monarchy's Adriatic
coastline. Later that year, the Kingdom of
Serbia and the State of
Croats and Serbs formed the Kingdom of Serbs,
Slovenes —subsequently renamed Yugoslavia. The proponents of the new
union in the
Croatian parliament saw the move as a safeguard against
Italian expansionism as stipulated in the Treaty of London. The
treaty was largely disregarded by Britain and
France because of
conflicting promises made to
Serbia and a perceived lack of Italian
contribution to the war effort outside
Italy itself. The 1919 Treaty
of Saint-Germain-en-Laye did transfer the
Austrian Littoral and Istria
to Italy, but awarded
Dalmatia to Yugoslavia. Following the war, a
private force of demobilized Italian soldiers seized
Rijeka and set up
Italian Regency of Carnaro
Italian Regency of Carnaro —seen as a harbinger of
order to force the recognition of Italian claims to the city. After
sixteen months of the Regency's existence, the 1920 Treaty of Rapallo
redefined the Italian–Yugoslav borders, among other things
Zadar and the islands of Cres,
Italy, securing the island of
Yugoslavia and establishing the
Free State of
Fiume ; this new state was abolished in 1924 by the
Rome that awarded
Fiume (modern Rijeka) to
Italy and Sušak
LATE 20TH CENTURY
World War II
World War II , the Adriatic saw only limited naval action ,
starting with the Italian invasion of
Albania and the joint Axis
Yugoslavia . The latter led to the annexation of a large
Dalmatia and nearly all the eastern Adriatic islands by Italy
and the establishment of two puppet states , the Independent State of
Croatia and the Kingdom of
Montenegro , which controlled the remainder
of the former Yugoslav Adriatic coast. In 1947, after the Armistice
Italy and Allied armed forces and the war's end,
Italy (now a
republic ) and the Allies signed the Treaty of Peace with
Italy . The
treaty reversed all wartime annexations, guaranteed the independence
of Albania, created the Free Territory of
Trieste (FTT) as a
city-state, and gave communist
Yugoslavia most of the Slovenian
Littoral , as well as Istria, the islands of Cres,
Palagruža, and the cities of
Zadar and Rijeka. The FTT was
partitioned in 1954:
Trieste itself and the area to the North of it
were placed under Italian control, while the rest came under Yugoslav
control. This arrangement was made permanent in the 1975 Treaty of
Cold War , the Adriatic
Sea became the southernmost flank
Iron Curtain as
NATO , while the Warsaw Pact
established bases in Albania. After the fall of communism ,
Yugoslavia broke apart :
Croatia declared independence in
1991, and Bosnia–Herzegovina followed in 1992, while Montenegro
remained in a federation with Serbia, officially called
Montenegro . The ensuing
Croatian War of Independence included
limited naval engagements and a blockade of Croatia's coast by the
Yugoslav Navy , leading to the
Battle of the Dalmatian channels and a
later withdrawal of Yugoslav vessels.
Montenegro declared itself
independent in 2006, effectively land-locking Serbia. The period also
saw the Adriatic
Sea as the theatre of several
including the blockade of
Yugoslavia , intervention in
Bosnia-Herzegovina and the 1999 bombing of
Yugoslavia defined their Adriatic continental shelf
delimitation in 1968, with an additional agreement signed in 1975 on
the Gulf of
Trieste boundary, following the Treaty of Osimo. The
boundary agreed in 1968 extends 353 nautical miles (654 km; 406 mi)
and consists of 43 points connected by straight lines or circular arc
segments . The additional boundary agreed upon in 1975 consists of 5
points, extending from an end point of the 1968 line. All successor
states of former
Yugoslavia accepted the agreements. In the Adriatic's
southernmost areas the border was not determined in order to avoid
prejudicing the location of the tripoint with the Albanian continental
shelf border, which remains undefined. Before the breakup of
Yugoslavia initially proclaimed
15-nautical-mile (28 km; 17 mi) territorial waters , subsequently
reduced to international-standard 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) and
all sides adopted baseline systems (mostly in the 1970s).
Italy determined their sea border in 1992 according to the
equidistance principle . Following Croatian EU membership , the
Adriatic became an internal sea of the EU. The United Nations
Convention on the Law of the
Sea defines the Adriatic
Sea as an
enclosed or semi-enclosed sea.
The town of
Izola in the Gulf of
Koper , southwestern
Adriatic Euroregion was established in
Pula in 2006 to promote
trans-regional and trans-national cooperation in the Adriatic
and serve as an Adriatic framework to help resolve issues of regional
Adriatic Euroregion consists of 23 members: the
Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions of Italy; the municipality of
Istria , Primorje-Gorski Kotar , Lika-
Šibenik-Knin , Split-
Dalmatia and Dubrovnik-
Neretva counties of
Croatia; the Herzegovina-
Neretva Canton of Bosnia–Herzegovina; the
Tivat in Montenegro; the Fier ,
Tirana , Shkodër ,
Durrës and Lezhë counties of Albania; and the
Greek prefectures of
The former Yugoslav republics' land borders were decided by
demarcation commissions implementing the
AVNOJ decisions of 1943 and
1945, but the exact course has not been agreed upon by the successor
states, which makes the maritime boundaries' definition difficult;
the maritime borders were not defined at all in the time of
Yugoslavia. In addition, the maritime boundary between
Montenegro was not defined before the 1990s.
Slovenia started negotiations to define maritime borders
Gulf of Piran in 1992 but failed to agree, resulting in a
dispute. Both countries also declared their economic zones, which
partially overlap. Croatia's application to become an EU member
state was initially suspended pending resolution of its border
Slovenia . These disputes with
Slovenia were eventually
settled with an agreement to accept the decision of an international
arbitration commission set up via the UN , enabling
progress towards EU membership. Aside from the EU membership
difficulty, even before its settling the dispute has caused no major
The maritime boundary between Bosnia–Herzegovina and
formally settled in 1999, but a few issues are still in dispute—the
Klek peninsula and two islets in the border area. The
Montenegro maritime boundary is disputed in the Bay of
Kotor, at the
Prevlaka peninsula. This dispute was exacerbated by the
peninsula's occupation by the Yugoslav People\'s Army and later by the
(Serbian–Montenegrin) FR Yugoslav Army , which in turn was replaced
United Nations observer mission that lasted until 2002. Croatia
took over the area with an agreement that allowed Montenegrin presence
in the bay's Croatian waters, and the dispute has become far less
contentious since Montenegro's independence in 2006.
Sea fishery 's production is distributed among countries
in the basin. In 2000, the nominal—on a live weight basis—total
landings of all Adriatic fisheries reached 110,000 tonnes (108,000
long tons ).
Overfishing is a recognised problem—450 species of
fish live in the Adriatic Sea, including 120 species threatened by
excessive commercial fishing, a problem exacerbated by pollution and
global warming . Overexploited species include common dentex , red
scorpionfish , monkfish ,
John Dory , blue shark , spiny dogfish ,
mullet , red mullet , Norway lobster , as well as European hake ,
and sardines . Turtles and common bottlenose dolphins are also being
killed by fishing nets. The depleted fish stock, and Croatia's
Ecological and Fisheries Protection Zone (ZERP) contributed to
accusations of overfishing exchanged between Italian and Croatian
fishermen. ZERP was introduced in 2003, but its application to EU
member states was suspended in 2004. The depleted stocks of fish are
being addressed through a new proposed EU fisheries policy that was
scheduled to take effect in 2013, when
Croatia acceded to the EU ,
and restore the stocks to sustainable levels by 2015.
The largest volume of fish harvesting was in Italy, where the total
production volume in 2007 stood at 465,637 tonnes (458,283 long tons).
In 2003, 28.8% of Italian fisheries production volume was generated
in the Northern and central Adriatic, and 24.5% in
Apulia (from the
Southern Adriatic and Ionian Sea). Italian fisheries, including those
operating outside the Adriatic, employed 60,700 in the primary sector
, including aquaculture (which comprises 40% of the total fisheries
production). The total fisheries output's gross value in 2002 was $1.9
billion. Fishing boat in
In 2007, Croatia's production in live weight reached 53,083 tonnes
(52,245 long tons). In 2006, the total Croatian fisheries production
volume was 37,800 tonnes (37,200 long tons) of catch and 14,200 tonnes
(14,000 long tons) from marine aquaculture. Croatian fisheries
employed approximately 20,000. The 2006 marine capture catch in
Croatian waters consisted of sardines (44.8%), anchovies (31.3%),
tunas (2.7%), other pelagic fish (4.8%), hake (2.4%), mullet (2.1%),
other demersal fish (8.3%), crustaceans (largely lobster and _Nephrops
norvegicus _) (0.8%), shellfish (largely oysters and mussels ) (0.3%),
cuttlefish (0.6%), squids (0.2%) and octopuses and other cephalopods
(1.6%). Croatian marine aquaculture production consisted of tuna
(47.2%), oysters and mussels (28.2% combined) and bass and bream
In 2007, Albanian fisheries production amounted to 7,505 tonnes
(7,386 long tons), including aquaculture production, which reached
1,970 tonnes (1,940 long tons) in 2006. At the same time, Slovenian
fisheries produced a total of 2,500 tonnes (2,460 long tons) with 55%
of the production volume originating in aquaculture, representing the
highest ratio in the Adriatic. Finally, the Montenegrin fisheries
production stood at 911 tonnes (897 long tons) in 2006, with only 11
tonnes coming from aquaculture. In 2007, the fisheries production in
Bosnia–Herzegovina reached volume of 9,625 tonnes (9,473 long tons)
and 2,463 tonnes (2,424 long tons) in Slovenia.
Dubrovnik is a major tourist destination in
Zlatni Rat (Golden Cape) on the island of
Brač The Palace of
the Emperor Diocletian in Split
Rimini is a major seaside
tourist resort in
Portorož is the largest seaside
tourist centre in
Portorož is the largest seaside tourist centre in
The countries bordering the Adriatic
Sea are significant tourist
destinations. The largest number of tourist overnight stays and the
most numerous tourist accommodation facilities are recorded in Italy,
especially in the
Veneto region (around Venice).
Veneto is followed by
Emilia-Romagna region and by the Adriatic Croatian counties . The
Croatian tourist facilities are further augmented by 21,000 nautical
ports and moorings ; nautical tourists are attracted to various types
of marine protected areas .
All countries along the Adriatic coast, except
Bosnia–Herzegovina, take part in the
Blue Flag beach certification
programme (of the
Foundation for Environmental Education ), for
beaches and marinas meeting strict quality standards including
environmental protection, water quality, safety and services criteria.
As of January 2012, the Blue Flag has been awarded to 103 Italian
Adriatic beaches and 29 marinas, 116 Croatian beaches and 19 marinas,
7 Slovenian beaches and 2 marinas, and 16 Montenegrin beaches.
Adriatic tourism is a significant source of income for these
countries, especially in
Montenegro where the tourism
income generated along the Adriatic coast represents the bulk of such
income. The direct contribution of travel and tourism to Croatia's
GDP stood at 5.1% in 2011, with the total industry contribution
estimated at 12.8% of the national GDP. For Montenegro, the direct
contribution of tourism to the national GDP is 8.1%, with the total
contribution to the economy at 17.2% of Montenegrin GDP.
Croatia has recently exhibited greater growth than in the
other regions around the Adriatic.
Tourism in the Adriatic
*Beds in all collective accommodation facilities; includes "Hotel
beds" figure also shown separately
**Includes both Adriatic and
Ionian sea coasts
Ship transport Port of
Trieste , the largest cargo
port in the Adriatic Port of
Koper , the largest port in
Slovenia Port of
Rijeka , the largest cargo port in
There are nineteen Adriatic
Sea ports (in four different countries)
that each handle more than a million tonnes of cargo per year. The
largest cargo ports among them are the Port of
Trieste (the largest
Adriatic cargo port in Italy), the Port of Venice, the Port of Ravenna
, the Port of
Koper (the largest Slovenian port), the Port of Rijeka
(the largest Croatian cargo port), and the Port of
Brindisi . The
largest passenger ports in the Adriatic are the
Port of Split (the
largest Croatian passenger port) and ports in
Ancona (the largest
Italian passenger seaport in the Adriatic). The largest seaport in
Montenegro is the
Port of Bar . In 2010, the Northern Adriatic
seaports of Trieste, Venice, Ravenna,
Rijeka founded the
North Adriatic Ports Association to position themselves more
favourably in the EU's transport systems.
Major Adriatic ports*, annual transport volume
Slovenia , Slovenian
Croatia , Dubrovnik-
Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Croatia, Primorje-Gorski Kotar
Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
*Ports handling more than a million tonnes of cargo or serving more
than a million passengers per year
Sources: National Institute of Statistics (2007 data, Italian ports,
note: the Port of
Falconara Marittima ;
passenger traffic below 200,000 is not reported), Croatian Bureau of
Statistics (2008 data, Croatian ports, note: the Port of Rijeka
includes the Rijeka,
Omišalj terminals; the Port
Ploče includes the
Metković terminals), Durrës'
Chamber of Commerce and Industry –
Albania (2007 data, Port of
Durrës), SEOnet (2011 data, Port of Koper)
OIL AND GAS
Natural gas is produced through several projects, including a joint
venture of the
Eni and INA companies that operates two platforms—one
is in Croatian waters and draws gas from six wells, and the other
(which started operating in 2010) is located in Italian waters. The
Adriatic gas fields were discovered in the 1970s, :265 but their
development commenced in 1996. In 2008, INA produced 14.58 million BOE
per day of gas. About 100 offshore platforms are located in the
Emilia-Romagna region, along with 17 in the Northern Adriatic. Eni
estimated its concessions in the Adriatic
Sea to hold at least
40,000,000,000 cubic metres (1.4×1012 cu ft) of natural gas, adding
that they may even reach 100,000,000,000 cubic metres (3.5×1012 cu
ft). INA estimates, however, are 50% lower than those supplied by Eni.
Oil was discovered in the Northern Adriatic at a depth of
approximately 5,400 metres (17,700 ft); the discovery was assessed as
not viable because of its location, depth and quality. These gas and
oil reserves are part of the
Po basin Province of Northern
the Northern Mediterranean Sea.
In the 2000s, investigation works aimed at discovering gas and oil
reserves in the Middle and Southern Adriatic basins intensified, and
by the decade's end, oil and natural gas reserves were discovered
southeast of the Bari, Brindisi—Rovesti and Giove oil discoveries.
Surveys indicate reserves of 3 billion barrels of oil in place and
5.7×1010 cubic metres (2,000,000,000,000 cu ft) of gas in place. The
discovery was followed by further surveys off the Croatian coast. In
January 2012, INA commenced prospecting for oil off Dubrovnik, marking
the resumption of oil exploration along the eastern Adriatic coast
after surveys commenced in the late 1980s around the island of Brač
were cancelled because of Yugoslavia's breakup and war in
Montenegro is also expected to look for oil off its coast. As of
January 2012, only 200 exploration wells had been sunk off the
Croatian coast, with all but 30 in the Northern Adriatic basin.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
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