Prespa's new monitoring boat on its first voyage to take samples from the lake

24 Jul 2013

Many measures have been undertaken over the past decades to restore the vulnerable ecosystem of Lake Prespa. The effectiveness of these measures, however, can only be accurately assessed through continuous monitoring of the status of the water. For this purpose, a monitoring boat has recently been purchased and launched to take the first samples from the lake.The first samples have now been collected and analyzed to check for the presence of various substances that determine the health of the lake's ecosystem.

The official launch of the monitoring boat was attended by the country's Environment Minister, Abdilaqim Ademi, together with the Swiss Ambassador Stefano Lazzarotto, UNDP Resident Representative a.i. Alessandro Fracassetti, and the Mayor of Resen, Gjoko Strezovski.Together with experts from the Ohrid-based Hydrobiological Institute who are helping to introduce the monitoring system, the guests boarded the new boat on its first voyage to collect samples.

This is one of the most important steps yet taken towards implementing  integral and continuous monitoring of  Lake Prespa,” said Minister Ademi, going on to say that the monitoring of waterbodies throughout the country is one of the Ministry’s highest priorities, since “sustainable management is possible only through constant observation of changes”.  

The Swiss Ambassador, Mr Stefano Lazzarotto, emphasised that the project for the restoration and protection of Lake Prespa –a project worth 6.3-million CHF—will help greatly to improve the quality of the water. “One of the challenges for all of us involved in the project is to assess the effectiveness of the measures already  implemented as part of the project,” explained Ambassador Lazzarotto, “and the monitoring boat is the answer to that dilemma.” The Ambassador went on to express his own and his country's strong commitment to the project. “This ancient lake and the mountains surrounding it are reminiscent of many Swiss landscapes,” he said, “And I’m very happy that our Government is supporting efforts to restore the Prespa Lake ecosystem.”

UNDP Resident Representative, a.i. Alessandro Fracassetti, praised the project as “One of the best examples of UNDP involvement in the country, designed by building upon international best practices in supporting sustainable development for the benefit of the people and environment. And, even more importantly, the project has become an excellent model for many other regions in the country and beyond.“

The Mayor of Resen Municipality, Gjoko Strezovski, expressed his delight and pride in the fact that his administration is now preparing to take over responsibility for the lake’s health and future. “Our efforts here will also be a benefit for our neighbors in Albania and Greece, as we share the same lake,” said the Mayor.

The Village of Stenje will soon become the location of the first ever Prespa Lake Monitoring and Management Station. The new boat will be one of the most important resources in the future monitoring of the lake. The monitoring boat was captained on its first voyage by Zoran Spirkovski, of the Ohrid Hydrobiological Institute, who welcomed the introduction of the monitoring system, adding that “Restoring Lake Prespa and improving the quality of its waters will also contribute to the protection of Lake Ohrid.”