Sunday, 20 February 2022

Fishermen in Istria Struggling With Jellyfish Infestation

February 20th, 2022 - The barrel jellyfish is mostly harmless to humans, but sure seems to be a menace to fishing nets due to its size - and numbers. Fishermen have been struggling with an invasion of huge jellyfish in the north of Istria that shows no sign of subsiding

An infestation of large jellyfish has been a source of headache for fishermen in Umag and Savudrija for two months now, so much so that some have given up and are not even going out to sea anymore. There are so many of them, and they’re so big and heavy that they destroy the nets as the fishermen lift them out of the sea, reports Jutarnji list.

Danilo Latin, a fisherman from Savudrija, says it’s not uncommon for them to pull out one ton of jellyfish at a time. He’s never seen such a thing before, and fishermen in general don’t know how to go about it. 

‘This has been going on for two months. It’s never been this way. Last year, [the jellyfish] appeared for a short while in March and that was that. This year they just won’t leave, and we don’t know when we’ll be able to go out to sea again. There are so many of them that even us fishermen are starting to feel uneasy. A friend of mine was recently at sea and told me that he’s never been scared to look at the sea before. He had a feeling as if it were ghosts under the surface’, said Latin.

Latin and other fishermen who are dealing with the jellyfish invasion in northern Istria are calling for the situation to be declared a natural disaster.

‘We can’t go out to sea as we only suffer damage. Some of the jellyfish weigh up to eight kilograms. And we don’t even know when we’ll be able to sail out. We informed experts at the Institute of Agriculture and Tourism in Poreč of this, and invited the Ruđer Bošković Centre for Marine Research in Rovinj as we wish for this to be declared a natural disaster. As far as I know, the scientists from the Rovinj institute haven’t yet arrived to see what’s going on. We reached out to the Department of Agriculture of Istria County and they told us they had never dealt with this issue. It’s new to everyone’, Latin said, adding it wasn’t only an issue in Umag and Savudrija, but also in the waters of Slovenia and the Italian region Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Scientist Barbara Sladonja from the Centre for Invasive Species of the Institute of Agriculture and Tourism in Poreč wasn’t able to say with certainty when the jellyfish would pull back and if it would happen before summer.

‘It’s the barrel jellyfish (Lat. Rhizostoma pulmo). This jellyfish is naturally found in our waters, and over the last hundred years or so, it has made an occasional appearance in large numbers. It’s the so-called jellyfish bloom phenomenon, seen in many jellyfish species, including the barrel jellyfish. In recent years, such blooms have been lasting longer and longer. It can’t be said for sure when it will pull back. Judging by the last few years, they already should have retreated, but their population remains large. We hope this won’t last until summer’, said the scientist.

She explained there were several reasons why the jellyfish would appear in such large numbers.

‘One reason is the sea temperature being too high. The barrel jellyfish population should decrease significantly in winter due to low temperatures. This year, it apparently hasn’t dropped low enough, and the population kept growing. In addition, marine food chains have been disrupted by several factors’, said Sladonja.

Experts from the Ruđer Bošković Institute from Rovinj said they were monitoring the phenomenon and that this jellyfish species is among the bigger ones found in the Adriatic. They can weigh up to 10 kilos each.

Until they fall back, it’s only the Ministry of the Sea that can help the fishermen. According to Ezio Pinzan, head of Istria’s Department of Agriculture, Istria County doesn’t have the funds for it.

‘We have to see what’s going on and how to prevent it from happening again next year. The Ministry has an aid package of 50 million kuna in the works, which they’ll distribute to our fishermen for this difficult situation’, said Pinzan.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Minister Says Croatia's Agricultural Output On Rise For Five Years

ZAGREB, 17 Feb 2022 - Croatia's agricultural production has not contracted, as data for the first 11 months of 2021 show that both exports and imports increased considerably, with exports increasing faster, Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said in parliament on Thursday.

"According to estimates by the national statistical office, Croatia's agricultural output grew at a rate of 8.1% in 2021," said the minister, stressing that the production had been growing for the five past years.

She addressed parliament during the presentation of the government's agriculture strategy up to 2030.

In response to harsh criticism from opposition lawmakers about a deficit in the farm sector, Vučković said that such gap could not be narrowed "with a magic wand" and could be reduced only through investment in boosting competitiveness and productivity.

The plan is to increase agricultural production from HRK 20 billion to HRK 30 billion annually by 2030, which would imply average annual growth of between 4% and 4.5%.

Vučković recalled that the government's €640 million support package to cushion the impact of energy price rises includes a €33.3 million (HRK 250 million) set of measures to help farmers and fishermen deal with increased energy prices.

The HRK 250 million aid scheme includes HRK 200 million for farmers and HRK 50 million for fishermen and will cover 88,000 family farms and 2,000 fishermen.

For more, check out our politics section.


Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Novi Vinodolski to Showcase Maritime Heritage With New Museum of Fishery

February 15th, 2022 - Novi Vinodolski, a town in the Northern Adriatic, has two interesting projects in development. Both are related to the historical development of fishery and the preservation of maritime heritage and tradition

One is the Klenovica Fishing Centre, an interpretation centre dedicated to fishery as a traditional economic activity; the other is a project that will have tunera lookouts built in Povile village. Both projects are being funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and were approved through the tender of LAGUR Tunera, reports Novi list.

LAGUR Tunera is a Local Action Group, i.e. a partnership of public, civil and economic sectors in fishing, fish processing and aquaculture. The group was established with the goal of developing local fisheries, and encompasses seven local self-governments: the towns of Bakar, Crikvenica, Kraljevica and Novi Vinodolski, and the municipalities of Fužine, Kostrena and Lokve, which together form a unique fishing area.

Novi Vinodolski Mayor Tomislav Cvitković and project manager Sandra Ristić believe the project in Klenovica will become a new tourist attraction in this coastal town.

LAGUR Tunera has approved funding in the amount of HRK 754,700 for the Town of Novi Vinodolski to implement the project Klenovica Fishing Centre. The funding is intended for the adaptation of the facility and furnishing the interior of the fisherman's house and its grounds, as well as creation of a visual identity, design, and printing of brochures.

‘The main goal of the project is to create an interpretation space that will unite maritime heritage and fishering and present them in an interesting way, but also create a new tourist attraction. Although fishing as an economic activity is much less prevalent today than it has been historically, Klenovica is still recognizable as a fishing village. We can say that we’re known as an exceptional gastronomic destination on the tourist map of the riviera, and we have the combination of fishing and catering to thank for it’, said Mayor Tomislav Cvitkovic, who lives in Klenovica and is a great lover of the sea and fishing.

Project manager Sandra Ristić told Novi list that the interior of the fishing house in Klenovica will be furnished with display tables on which models will be exhibited, while fishing tools will be hung up on the walls. Multimedia panels will be installed to present the intangible maritime and fishing heritage in a modern way, but the fisherman's house itself will retain a traditional appearance, complemented by the exterior decor around the building. Namely, they plan to set up a wooden pergola and build a small square that will be paved with stone slabs and fitted with benches.

‘The residents of Klenovica have kept numerous old photographs that speak of the lives of fishermen and families who dealt in fishing; they speak of the transmission of knowledge and skills in fishing and navigation, of legends and adventures. With a multimedia display we wish to show just how much maritime heritage is ingrained in the identity of Klenovica people and why it represents an important segment of their cultural heritage’, said Ristić.

Bakarac_i_tunere.jpgTunera in Bakarac / Image by Gargamel, Wiki Commons

There are also plans to set up two tunera in Povile village. Tunera are tuna lookouts, tall wooden towers erected along the coastline to assist local fishermen with tuna fishing.

‘Centuries-old tradition and the unique way of tuna fishing in the Northern Adriatic have left a permanent mark on life in the Kvarner gulf, including the village of Povile that used to have two tuna lookouts. Unfortunately, there is no trace of them today to speak about the past and the most important economic activity in the history of this area, so I believe that the project of building tunera towers in Povile will contribute to preservation of fishing heritage and create a recognizable emblem of the fishery area covered by LAGUR Tunera’, explained Ristić.

Povile will eventually get its own museum of fishing. The project is currently in the works, and once when initial designs are completed, a construction permit will be obtained.