Lawless Lake: Ex-Smugglers Find New Fish to Fry

Ivan Cadjenovic Podgorica, Virpazar, Shkoder

On the biggest lake in the Balkans, rangers say it is easier to catch a drug trafficker than a poacher amid warnings of ecological disaster.

A traditional Lake Skadar boat is seen on the shore of the Albanian side of the lake. Photo: Mladen Ivanovic

Some do it the easy way on Lake Skadar, poking electrodes into the water to zap carp and eels with 110 volts from a transformer hooked up to a car battery. As the stunned fish bob to the surface, they scoop them into the boat.


Others unfurl nets and stake them to the muddy bottom. Tell-tale rows of sticks dot the shorelines straddling Montenegro’s southern border with Albania.


But for one Montenegrin poacher on the biggest lake in the Balkans, the old ways are best. What used to be done with lanterns is today done by flashlight.


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