Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Adriatic Sea Flourishes In 2020 As Waters Replenish

October 14, 2020 – Whales, dolphins and shrimp have returned to Croatian waters in greater numbers than in living memory as the Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020's quieter season

For obvious reasons, it's been an extraordinary year for everyone. Much of the news to report hasn't been the happiest. But, even in times of crisis, it's still possible to find reasons to optimistic and thankful.

In 2020, more tourists than in previous seasons have stayed away from Croatia's shoreline. However, their absence has been filled, in part, by a remarkable return of sea life. The Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020 with mammals, fish and crustaceans.

Dolphins are a wonderful sight to catch around the Croatian coast at any time, but not a great surprise – dolphins enjoy the fish-filled, crystal clear Adriatic as much as we all do. But the large whales spotted in Croatian waters this summer are quite uncommon.

Screenshot (40).pngDolphins filmed swimming near Ugljan island earlier this year as the Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020. You can find a link to this dolphin video above © Youtube screenshot

Researchers from the Blue World Institute are now sure that two separate whales have inhabited the Velebit Channel between August and October this year with at least one, if not both, still remaining in the area.

Of course, the wholly negative way of explaining their appearance would be to blame the uncommon occurrences on global warming. But, things may not be so clear cut. Less sailing, fewer pollutants and much fewer cruise ships in the Adriatic this year may well have made the area more inviting for the large mammals.

Key to a whale's desired place of dwelling is the food available to them. While the strict lockdown witnessed early this year struck a heavy blow on Croatia's fish markets and, in turn, the country's fishing industry, the fall in prices, the lack of demand and the reduction in fishing allowed the Adriatic to replenish.

Nadine Doerlé.jpgCrustaceans have also benefitted from a fallow year. Split fisherman Antonio Šunjić told Slobodna Dalmacija he sees an explosion in Croatia waters of shrimp numbers as the Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020 © Nadine Doerlé

In an interview with Tanja Šimundić Bendić in Slobodna Dalmacija on 10th October 2020, Antonio Šunjić, the first man of the fishermen's guild of Split and Split-Dalmatia County gave first-hand witness. He attested to an increase in tuna number (a favourite of the whales) this year. He also sees an explosion in shrimp population as the Adriatic sea flourishes in 2020.

Those who have long grown from and fed off the land know well how to look after their most precious commodity – farmers leave some fields fallow during a whole season, sowing no seeds for a year so that the ground may rest and fertility return. The fallow period the Adriatic has experienced in 2020 may deliver much greater long-term wealth than the temporary inconveniences caused by this extraordinary season.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages.

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Some of Croatia's Fish Face Extinction Thanks To Invasive Species

June 3, 2020 — Invasive species drawn by waters warmed by climate change may endanger many of the Adriatic's signature dwellers.

It has been several years since divers first warned of the chaos that reigns in the underwater world. First, they began to notice that sponges were dying out in the Adriatic. Then, in some central Dalmatian locations, mussels disappeared.

Then the noble pen shell clam, a beautiful, elegant Mediterranean species, began dying, with literal hit the fields of the clam turned it into tombs. All this is accompanied by records and expert evidence of amateurs and professionals about elevated sea temperatures.

In Istria, the leader of Umag's fishermen, Danijel Kolec, told Slobodna Dalmacija that the sponges in the Adriatic bear no resemblance to their ancestors. They're now full of acid.

"There can be so much acid that people now have to wear gloves because blisters come out of their hands when they come in contact with [the sponges," he said. "In addition, we lost sea urchins, and seaweed, but the population of crabs has increased significantly. Especially Armaron or Tenkista as we fishermen call him, because of the characteristic strong red-pink pliers."

All this knowledge only builds on what researchers and locals have been noticing for a long time. It is an influx of new fish species, which due to their aggressiveness and toxicity pose a specific threat to the fauna of the Mediterranean. They are led by several of the most deadly, for example, the blue-spotted trumpeter, which is also called the Lessepsian sprinter due to its rapid conquest of the Mediterranean. It is among the 100 ‘worst’ invasive species in European waters.

Prominent Croatian researcher Dr. Jakov Dulčić, head of the Laboratory for Ichthyology and Coastal Fishing of the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split, said the last census of fish from 2000 found 664 species classified in 156 families in the Mediterranean.

"This number has certainly changed over the last 15 years so that now it could already be around 772 species," he told the paper. "The biodiversity of ichthyofauna or fish stocks of the Mediterranean Sea has undergone dizzying changes in the last few decades. There have been a number of migrations."

Climate change has warmed the Adriatic, enticing thermophilic fish who prefer warm waters.

Where did these fish come from? Most of the new species came to the Mediterranean from the Red Sea, via the Suez Canal. They are accompanied by those from the Atlantic Ocean.

There is a smaller number of those who migrated through ballast water, escape from aquaculture and aquariums.

"The Mediterranean Sea, one of the most complex marine ecosystems, inhabits rich and diverse wildlife, disproportionate to its dimensions," Dr. Dulčić said. "Currently, this world is under the influence of various pressures, mainly caused by human activity such as climate change and bioinvasions."

The Mediterranean's location makes it sensitive to climate change, he added. 

The opening of the Suez Canal, and then the construction of the Aswan Dam, created a convenient path for foreign marine species to enter the Mediterranean Sea. Tropical fish entered, including the so-called Lessepsian migrants resembling blue-spotted trumpeters. Or species of Atlantic origin. As a result of the warming trends of the Mediterranean, as well as the increased intensity of shipping, they are spreading rapidly throughout the Mediterranean basin.

Over 100 foreign, exotic species now roam the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. One of the most significant threats is the blue-spotted cornetfish, a distinct predator that feeds on many important fish species. Therefore, its impact on the food chain is very high.

The peacock fish, for example, arrived in the Mediterranean from the Indian Ocean through the Suez Canal. It was first spotted in 1991 in Israeli waters. In 2012 it was caught in Lebanon and has been spreading north ever since.

Dulčić said that fortunately there are no finds in the Adriatic yet, but there are in Italy, near the Gulf of Taranto, and in the Ionian Sea, near the islands of Kefalonia and Corfu, and in Greece, and may reach Croatia's coastal waters in due time.

The same fish caused an extremely high mortality of benthic organisms along the American and Caribbean coasts since the 1980s when it ‘escaped’ from a Florida aquarium.

The predator reduced the numbers of 40 species of coral fish by about 65 percent in those waters. At the same time, the catch of certain species of fish decreased, primarily from the family of barbed wire.

A peacock sting can be deadly. The large number of this species, primarily in the entire Levant, leads to fears that the same scenario is being prepared in Mediterranean waters.

"The sea peacock species spread quickly, has high fertility, and grows faster than other fish. If this species reaches the Adriatic Sea, then the temperature could be a limiting factor for its northern parts in the first place, especially in winter when sea temperatures are low, as it has been so far for some other foreign species," Dulčić explained.

The key question is what awaits us, what kind of future is in store for us? The Mediterranean climate is expected to become warmer and drier, with increasing year-on-year variability due to extreme heat and drought.

The warming trend experiencing the Mediterranean is also affecting the distribution of its indigenous species. How this will affect the very sensitive Mediterranean Sea is still unknown.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Ante Gotovina Signs Contract For Sale of Adriatic Tuna with Metro

Good news for respected Croatian General Ante Gotovina as his tuna company signs a contract with a Metro, which will now result in his company's top quality fish ending up exclusively on Croatia's shelves for the hotel and catering industry.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 6th of February, 2019, with a presentation of the methods of the processing and the preparation of the popular bluefin Adriatic tuna, visitors to the Adriatic Gastro Show will get acquainted with the famous culinary presentation of the well-known "Batelina" chef David Skoko.

At today's Adriatic Gastro Show held in the Dalmatian capital of Split, Metro will introduce the newest product on its already very rich shelves to caterers, hoteliers and all those who work in the field - the Adriatic bluefin tuna.

As Slobodna Dalmacija reported, Metro and Pelagos net farm, the company belonging to General Ante Gotovina, have now signed a cooperation agreement for the sale of the sought-after fish. Metro will offer bluefin sushi/sashimi quality tuna, which will be distributed and made readily available to professional Metro customers in wholesale centres throughout the Republic of Croatia, meaning that it will be being sold exclusively on the Croatian market.

''We're proud that Metro can boast of [this type of] cooperation which makes us the exclusive supplier of Adriatic bluefin tuna from Pelagos net farm for the Croatian HoReCa market. Metro cooperates with numerous restaurants and hotels all over the Republic of Croatia, so we're continually trying to improve our range to offer them the best products according to international culinary trends.

Make sure to stay up to date with not only Ante Gotovina's business, but with Croatian companies, products and services, as well as doing business in Croatia, and the overall business and investment climate by following our dedicated Made in Croatia and business pages.

Friday, 21 December 2018

Brač Bros Sell Croatian Fish To Austrians Via New Store

December 21, 2018 — Croatian fish can be hard to find outside of Dalmatia. Well, the Viennese won't harbor that complaint much longer.

The country's preeminent fish-mongering brothers from Brač, Ivo and Toni Bartulović, will test their knack for innovation and entrepreneurship outside of CroatiaTheir new venture, Gastrofish "Brač" will open on Jan. 12 in Vienna, Austria.
Ivo and Toni Bartulović made a name for themselves in the local fish trade by cracking the logistical and financial nightmare implicit in the words "fresh caught." Their firm Centaurus employs about 40 people, operates its own fish market and delivers fresh fish to 200 restaurants and hotels in Dalmatia.
The brother's success in Dalmatia suggested a logical move to Zagreb. They disagreed. Getting a company functioning and selling fresh Croatian fish took time and risk, they admitted. The capital's market was flooded.
Vienna, though?
"Vienna is a huge, generous market, where almost two million people live there, so it's worth trying," Ivo Bartulić told Slobodna Dalmacija.
Vienna, with its large Croatian and former-Yugoslavian diaspora, seems a sounder investment. They've included the accent mark in "Brač" for good measure.
"We expect our people to recognize us first," Bartulović said. "Then their Austrian friends who come to the Adriatic and know the quality of the fish we have here."
The brothers' knack for logistics remains. They contend the fish they offer will be caught in the Adriatic and delivered to Vienna in 12 hours.
The stores' offerings will range beyond fish but focus only on products from this region.
"Everything must be [Croatian], original," Bartulović said. "We even insisted that the shelves in the shop be made from Slavonian oak."
The Bartulović brothers sold Croatian fish to Split and its surroundings for some time. But business is getting more complicated. There's more work, but fewer earnings. The battles against burdensome government administration, a lack of labor, high taxes. They continue.
The brothers' experience in Austria has been eye-opening. "Up until now, everything [after registering the firm] is simpler in Vienna," Ivo said.
He added there was financial risk involved. "The cash register alone costs EUR 6.000."
Be sure to check out our other coverage of the Croatian fishing industry.
Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Sailing in Croatia: The Adriatic Alphabet - G is For...

TCN continues with the alphabet series with a nod to several charming islands, a medieval bishop and some mouth-watering fish on January 30, 2018