Albanian: Kanali I Otrantos
Italian: Canale d’Otranto
The Strait of Otranto connects the Adriatic Sea with the Ionian Sea and separates Italy from Albania. Its width from Kepi I Gjuhes, Karaburun, Albania to Punta Palascìa, east of Salento is less than 72 kilometers (45 mi). The strait is named after the Italian city of Otranto. The straight of Otranto has a very strategic position and for centuries has been a key to control all traffic flow from Mediterranean to Adriatic seas.
There is quite a lot of ship traffic flow which makes this strait a very sensitive area. The most important sites of the strait are the cities of Otranto, Castro, S. Maria of Leuca, Porto Badisco, Alimini Lakes, S. Cesarea Terme and Torre dell’Orso in Italy and Sazan Island and Bay of Vlora in Albania. The coasts of the Strait of Otranto are sometimes broad and sandy (whose waters at this latitude are characterized by rare spectacular colors and transparency), sometimes rocky, with cliffs dropping into the sea. Among the best known beaches are those of Torre dell’Orso, Santa Maria di Leuca, Otranto and, with regard to the rocky beaches, the most notable are Castro, Santa Cesarea Terme and Porto Badisco.
The tourism sector has experienced in recent years a steady growth trend. From 2006 to 2010 the number of tourists has increased by +54.3%. The sea of Otranto, among the cleanest in Italy, offers a wealth of fish. Fishing activity is widely practiced and there are many species of fish caught (mackerel, mullet, grouper, bream, snapper, sea bass, sea bream, mullet, redfish, octopus, squid, cuttlefish, sea urchins, etc.). The crops that have the greatest impact on the economy of Otranto are the olive trees, the rooted, wheat and vegetables. The olive trees provide oil, precious nectar that is exported all around the world. The local artisan production present in Otranto is rich. The products are manufactured using various materials, mainly natural. We recall the reed baskets, or the beautiful mosaics that often are inspired to mosaic floor of the Cathedral hydruntina site, or the colored terracotta bells luck. The port of Otranto is shipping and tourist and plays a key role for national and international movement of boats.
The EU has called several places on the Strait of Otranto "sites of Community interest" (SIC), for their environmental importance.
Due to very dense maritime traffic flowing in and out from the Mediterranean Sea to the Adriatic Sea, especially in the northern part where there are the biggest ports, this area is very sensitive to pollution caused by ships. For this reason is established an Adriatic Traffic Report System, to monitor all ships sailing in and out of the Otranto Strait. ”Adriatic Traffic "means a system for traffic control in the Adriatic Sea in which management is ensured jointly, each for part of their competence, by Italian and Albanian authorities. It is planned to build a gas pipeline that will cross the Strait of Otranto to bring Azerbaijani gas in Italy, through Greece and Albania, with serious repercussions for the environment, tourism and fishing.
The objective of the partners on the Strait of Otranto is to contribute to the promotion of the sustainable development of the common area.
In March 2013, a workshop will be hosted which will contribute to the exchange of experiences in the field of sustainable tourism. The integrated approach of straits issues is perceived as a key answer to most problems of the area, including the impact on the biodiversity of the straits.
Province of Lecce/ Provincia di Lecce (Italy)
The Province of Lecce (PoL) is the Italian local authority which borders the Strait of Otranto. The Province is competent in the fields of economic development, culture and social action. It is also involved in tourism, territorial planning and transport. It has gained experience in the field of sustainable tourism development and cultural tourism through it implication in European projects. In advance of other regions of southern Italy, Puglia Region, and with it the Province of Lecce, have shown a great interest in the preservation of natural heritage, passing, as part of the activities aimed at enhancing of the natural and cultural heritage, from the phase of the restoration and enhancement of the ”individual cultural and environmental emergencies", to the stage of development of "integrated systems of culture and tourism”.
This has fostered a virtuous cycle of area animation through the creation of territorial negotiating tables and the initiatives of integrated and efficient management of land resources aimed to the implementation of "environmental and cultural systems" and "local tourist" and the “preservation of natural heritage”. The action guarantees in the short term, as well as the effectiveness and efficiency of spending and in the medium term, the development of new territorial capacity in competitive processes, cooperation and co-development within the area "wider Euro-Mediterranean".
Regional Council of Vlore Qarku I Vlores (Albania)
The Regional Council of Vlora is the Albanese local authority bordering the Strait of Otranto. It faces the Italian Province of Lecce. It is responsible for harmonizing regional strategies to the national ones, drafting and implementing strategies linked to the economic development and to environment including biodiversity matters at regional level.