Saturday, 29 May 2021

Noble Pen Shell in Croatia: Living Specimen Found Close to Lastovo Island

May 29, 2021 – Close to Lastovo Island in the Dubrovnik archipelago, a local fisherman discovered a living specimen of the noble pen shell in Croatia. 

The title of this text would not be very interesting just a few years ago. Noble pen shells are some of the most beloved bivalves of the Croatian part of the Adriatic. They are popular with scuba divers and snorkelers because of their impressive size and beauty. Unfortunately, last year saw a massive dying-off of noble pen shells in Croatia.

It started five years ago in Spain. The mysterious disease killed off almost the entire population of noble pen shells in the Mediterranean. Tportal reports, Croatian Veterinary Institute (HVI) is researching the causes of the ecological disaster. A parasite called Haplosporidium pinnae in combination with micro bacteria is the most likely culprit. According to Zeljko Mihaljevic, pathologist and epidemiologist of HVI, this discovery is very reassuring. The Southern Adriatic seems to have lost virtually its entire population of noble pen shells. Any surviving specimens are very interesting to observe. They might have immunity that is potentially very important for the continuation of the research.

Observe and Report

He also went on to ask anyone who spots any noble pen shells in the Adriatic to check if they are alive. Simply passing your hand over the shell should make it close. It is sensitive to the commotion in the water. Any living specimen should be reported to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. Their central contact number is +385 1 3717 111.

Noble pen shell, also known as fan mussel, can be over a meter in length. They usually grow upright on sandy bottoms. It is endemic to the Mediterranean region and the biggest bivalve in the Adriatic. They are a good indicator of sea cleanliness. The Croatian government is enacting a program that aims to slowly re-establish the population of noble pen shells. It will not be an easy nor a quick process. Diving lovers in Croatia are hoping to once again enjoy the view of these darlings of the Adriatic.

For more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Croatia Lacks Equipment To Prevent Major Sea Pollution Incidents

April 4, 2021 - The State Audit Office has found that Croatia does not have enough equipment to prevent and limit major sea pollution incidents after examining the efficiency of pollution incident response management in the Adriatic in 2017-2019.

No major pollution incidents of 2,000 cubic meters or more occurred during that period. The largest incident occurred in Raša Bay in Istria in June 2018 when about eight cubic meters of fuel leaked into the sea from a cargo ship sailing under the Lebanese flag.

The largest pollution prevention effort was undertaken in June 2018 when the Turkish ship Haksa, carrying magnesite, nearly sank in the waters off Split after the water penetrated the engine room. A diver managed to weld the crack up, and the vessel was tugged to the Trogir shipyard.

Pollution incident response management, which falls within the Ministry of the Sea's authority, Transport and Infrastructure, was assessed as partly efficient. The State Audit Office said that Croatia does not have sufficient equipment to prevent major pollution incidents. No company or state institution is conducting an accredited training program, and the register of certified companies for emergency response is not updated.

The report says that the government's necessary equipment and vessels should be provided and that the Ministry should develop the response management system in cooperation with the Defence Ministry to ensure that the system is as effective as possible.

The Office noted that the Adriatic Sea is mostly enclosed and, as such, environmentally highly vulnerable. Economic activity in it is growing steadily, which leads to increased shipping traffic.

The number of ships carrying hazardous and noxious substances rose from 1,259 in 2017 to 2,118 in 2019, while the number of passengers transported from Croatian ports increased from 37.8 million in 2017 to 42.8 million in 2019.

Increased traffic brings a greater risk of pollution of the marine environment because of accidents at sea, the release of polluted waters, and industrial waste disposal. According to the report, exploration and exploitation of the seabed and subsoil also increase the risk to the marine environport.

Potential large-scale pollution incidents in the Adriatic Sea can result in major economic and environmental disasters for Croatia, the State Audit Office warned.

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Sunday, 21 March 2021

Croatian Trawling Fleet Among 10 Fleets With Highest Carbon Emissions

ZAGREB, 19 March 2021 - Trawling by fishing fleets releases roughly the same amount of carbon emissions into the water as aviation puts into the atmosphere each year. Croatia is one of the ten countries in the world whose fleets release the most harmful gases.

In a study published in the journal Nature, a team of 26 scientists and conservationists said marine protected areas (MPAs) are an effective tool for restoring biodiversity, expanding seafood supplies, and storing climate-heating carbon.

But at present, only 7% of the ocean has been designated or proposed as an MPA, with less than 3% under full or high protection from fishing, mining, and other habitat destruction.

The study explored the benefits of boosting that share to at least 30%; a goal governments are being urged to adopt this year when they agree on new global targets to stop and reverse the damage humans are causing to nature, Reuters says.

Lead author Enric Sala, an "explorer-in-residence" at the National Geographic Society, said ocean life has declined worldwide because of overfishing, climate change, and marine habitats.

"It's clear that humanity and the economy will benefit from a healthier ocean. And we can realize those benefits quickly if countries work together to protect at least 30% of the ocean by 2030," he said in a statement.

Researchers calculated for the first time the climate impacts of bottom trawling, a fishing method that involves dragging heavy nets across the ocean floor, and found it produces one gigatonne of carbon emissions on average each year.

That exceeds all countries' annual emissions except China, the United States, India, Russia, and Japan.

Paper co-author Trisha Atwood of Utah State University said the "destructive" practice of trawling disturbs the seabed, releasing some of the carbon it contains, which is then broken down by microbes and turned into carbon dioxide (CO2).

It is still unclear how much of that CO2 finds its way from the sea into the air, contributing to warming the planet, she told Reuters.

But if it stays in the water, it contributes to the acidification that harms coral reefs and means the ocean can absorb less CO2 from the atmosphere.

The findings would make activities on the ocean's seabed "hard to ignore in climate plans going forward," she noted.

So far, governments have only started looking at how to value and maintain stores of carbon in coastal areas, such as in mangrove forests, let alone in the ocean itself.

Adriatic needs protection

But the study said eliminating 90% of the risk of carbon disturbance due to bottom trawling would require banning industrial fishing in only 3.6% of the ocean, mostly within the exclusive economic zones (EEZs) that stretch 200 nautical miles (370 km) from countries' shores.

Countries with the highest potential to curb emissions by protecting ocean carbon stocks are those with large EEZs and industrial bottom-trawl fisheries, it added.

Data showed the nations with the highest emissions from bottom trawling are China, responsible for about three-quarters of the total, followed by Russia, Italy, Britain, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Croatia, and Spain.

Areas where greater protection could cut carbon emissions, and boost marine biodiversity and food supplies, include the China Sea, the North Sea, and the Adriatic, Atwood noted.

The researchers said reducing CO2 emissions by cutting back on trawling could generate carbon credits and provide "a meaningful opportunity" to fund the creation of more marine protected areas while compensating for economic losses, Reuters says.

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Monday, 26 February 2018

Already Tagged and Recorded Turtle Found Dead in Posedarje

Some sad news from Posedarje.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Fight Against the Pollution of Adriatic: Croatia, Slovenia and Italy Must Cooperate

International experts at the conference in Split stressed the importance of environmental protection and preventing pollution.