The results of the updated and quality-checked data base of field observationson chlorophyll a (Chl a) collected in the period 1970-2007 in the Northern Adriatic Sea are presented. From the last decade, SeaWiFS satellite information was also considered. Results demonstrate a global tendency towards Chl a reduction in the period of investigation, which is more marked in the eutrophic area under the influence of the Po River. In the rest of the basin, which presents meso- or oligotrophic characteristics, long-term changes are more difficult to detect. The long-term field dataset can be divided into two periods: the last decade characterized by the strong decrease observed in the whole northern Adriatic and the earlier period with no or slight increase. The recent substantial reduction of Chl a concentrationsis confirmed all over the basin (-0.11 mg m-3 year-1) from satellite-derived information. Results are consistent with recently evidenced decrease in concentrations of phosphate and ammonia and point to the existence of oligotrophication in the Northern Adriatic. Results indicate forcefully that the still common perception of the Adriatic Sea as a very eutrophic basin is no longer appropriate, at least for its northern part and in recent years.