The CAMP B&H project area is the entire coastal zone that belongs to a single coastal municipality – Neum. The area is composed of a terrestrial part with a total surface of 226 km2, and of a marine part of 12,2 km2. The project area is shown in Figure below.
The Municipality of Neum is known for its natural attractions and cultural heritage. As such, it has been of particular interest to the development of tourism. The region is also considered an attractive area for living, which has caused continuous migrations (within B&H) towards the coast. According to the 2013 census, the population of the Municipality was 4,653 inhabitants, which makes a population density of 21 inhabitants per km². Development and urban capacities are mainly linearly located along the coastline.
CAMP project area: Municipality of Neum
The current share of protected areas in the coastal zone is rather low. In the area of Neum Municipality, the peninsula of Klek, called “Rep”, is under protection as a natural reserve of Mediterranean flora “Mediteranetum”. This is an intact part of the Mediterranean flora, which is attractive for tourism. On the peninsula of Klek, there is the most complete reserve of “maquis” of a high phytocoenological and endemic significance. Due to the construction of infrastructure facilities on the peninsula, the remaining “maquis” should be protected, marked and turned into a botanical garden and as such included in the tourist offer of the Municipality, as well as used for the educational purposes.
The Neum-Klek bay is a specific, relatively closed marine aquarium. The endemic and rare physical and oceanographic features of this aquarium are resulting from the huge swarm of groundwater through wellsprings (vrulja). The possibility of accidents at sea has been recognized as an important threat that can significantly impact the coastal and marine environments.
Tourism is the main economic activity in the Municipality of Neum where significant growth can be expected in the coming period. Neum is particularly attractive for tourists, and especially for domestic ones, due to its good geographical position and for the price, competitiveness compared to surrounding Croatian destinations. Though, tourism activity is for the time being solely concentrated on the coastal zone in the town of Neum, where it results in numerous problems. Illegal construction is one of the most important ones, which impacts the coastal landscapes, the Mediterranean architectural heritage and the quality of the natural environment. The hinterland of the Municipality is not yet used for tourism purposes, despite its potential, especially in cultural and rural tourism.
According to cadastral data, there are 15,020 hectares of agricultural land, of which the largest part (14,259 hectares) is composed of fertile extinct pastures, while the rest is divided into vineyards, orchards and other kinds of cultures. The activities which have a potential for development are olive cultivation, beekeeping, as well as livestock and poultry production. The main limiting factors for agriculture development are the lack of a watering system in a large part of the Municipality; the fragmentation of plots; the rural decline of the population, mainly young people; and the great competition in the offer of all agricultural products as a result of market opening in accordance with the rules imposed by the EU.
Considering the small surface of the marine part of the coastal zone, there is a very small potential for the development of aquaculture. Nevertheless, the existing potential is still poorly utilized. Aquaculture in B&H mainly consists of the cultivation of sea fish (sea bream and sea bass) and shellfish (mussels and oysters). In 2015, 205 tons of fish were produced in aquafarms. However, and despite the small size of the production, the marine and coastal ecosystems are exposed to high pressures. Besides aquaculture, only twenty fishermen are working on the sea, and the reported catch is very small about 5 tons.
Main environmental problems
Water and waste management are insufficient to meet the development needs and provide for adequate environmental protection. Regarding water infrastructure, 70% of the total wastewater in the Municipality of Neum in being collected in the sewerage system, while the remaining 30% use septic tanks which are mainly not waterproof. The big problem of the town of Neum is related to rainwater, as only a small part of the coastal belt is covered by a water collection system. Strong terrain configuration quickly generates large amounts of rainwater, which causes significant damage to the facilities. The rainwater runs directly into the sea. There is no water quality data in the bay due to a lack of monitoring and regular measurement systems. The potential negative impact of wastewater is linked to the increase of fecal bacterial concentrations in the local coastal sea, Neum – Klek Bay. Waste management is another issue of the Municipality of Neum. There is no selective waste collection and there is no separate landfill for disposal of waste from construction works and other types of waste. Industrial, organic and other kinds of waste are disposed of together with municipal waste in the two existing landfills of the Municipality.