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Clear and Peaceful

Sasko Lake

Area in hectares: 315-380
Altitude: 0-3 m
Conservation status: IBA since 1989, unprotected at local and national level; Emerald site under the Bern Convention
Coordinates: 19°19’56,87” E, 41°58’22,41”N


Šasko Lake is “sandwiched” between the Skadar Lake and the Ulcinj Salina, in the southeastern part of the country, in the area of Ulcinj. The Lake is separated from the Skadar Lake by the Mountain Rumija (1,595 m altitude), and from the Salina by Briska Gora (176 m). It is 16 km from the mouth of the Bojana River into the Adriatic. The lake has clear water, slightly salinised. Its average depth is 4 meters. The deepest part is the underwater spring called Begovo oko, under the Briska Gora, 9 m. It is believed that the salination of the lake water during summer months comes from the plunging water from the Salina. During high waters of the Bojana River, the lake periodically communicates with the river, thereby changing its composition of flora and fauna. The contact is made possible by flooding the Fraskanjelsko Field or with the channel 1,600 m long, which is overgrown and almost inoperable. The oscillation of the water level in the lake is about 2m, and water temperature is between 7 and 28 degrees.


Ornithological composition is practically a miniature of the Skadar Lake. However, increased harassment causes for the number of breeding birds to be much smaller on the lake and colonies that are present on the Skadar Lake are absent from the Šasko Lake, primarily several types of herons, cormorants and pelicans. Significant breeding birds of the Šasko Lake are the following: Rallus aquaticus, Gallinula chloriopus, Fulica atra, Sterna hirundo, S. albifrons, C. hybrydus, Streptopelia turtur, Clamator glandarius, Athene noctua, Coracias garrulous, Upupa epops, Galerida cristata, Calandrella brachydactyla, Hirundo rustica, Delichon urbica, Motacilla alba, M. flava, Luscinia megarhynchos, Phoenicurus ochruros, Oenanthe oeananthe, O. hispanica, Turdus merula, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, A. scirpaceus, Hippolais pallida, Sylvia atricapilla, S. communis, Muscicapa striata, Parus lugubris, Lanius senator, L. minor, Sturnus vulgaris, Oriolus oriolus, Pica pica, Corvus corone cornix, Passer montanus, P. domesticus, P. hispaniolensis, Carduelis canabina, Emberiza calandra, E. melanocephala. During fall and winter, pelicans and cormorants can be registered on the waters of the lake. During wintering, the lake “hosts” around twenty thousand water birds, most commonly coots, which is a sufficient precondition for the admission to the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.


Around the lake there are stands of reed Phragmites communis, sedge Carex and Juncus sp. In the coastal area, the lake is covered with floating vegetation, while the floodplain meadows of the Fraskanjelsko Field are covered with ash, willow and oak. Altogether, with the uninhabited coast, it provides for an image of virgin landscape. In the waters of the lake one can catch eels, carp, mullet, grass carp and leer fish, making for the excellent food base for birds, especially during months when the fish is trapped in the lake and when it has no contact with the surrounding waters. The lake has 23 species of fish registered.


Šasko Lake is the hunting ground of the local hunting club. Documented illegal hunting methods (lures, CD), and hunting out of season, disturbs the waterfowl, especially during winter and early spring. Bird hunting on the lake should be strictly prohibited. The lake is not zoned, and the presence of fishermen, their driftnets and tool shed is everywhere. Tourist pressure and boat rides on the lake are also a disturbing factor for breeding, because the nesting season overlaps with the tourist season. The rapid tourist development of the region causes for the construction on the banks of the lake, which will, if not subsumed under the law and if collectors are not built, destroy the virgin landscape, as well as the water quality of the lake. Root canal treatment with which the lake contacts with the Bojana River, without previous research, could drain the water of the lake, if the activity is not carried out professionally. Contact with the Bojana River, which is bacteriological burdened during summer months, and its mixing with waters of Šasko Lake, can have disastrous consequences for the lake.


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