Saturday, 24 September 2022

Large Number of Sharks Live in Croatian Adriatic, Experts Reveal More

September the 24th, 2022 - There are a surprising number of sharks living in the Croatian Adriatic Sea, and while they don't bother people, the occasional sighting for a lucky few is always an incredible experience, especially if it's captured on video.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, although the main summer tourist season has now ended, the news that there are a large number of marine predators living quite peacefully in the vicinity caused a wave of disbelief among tourists in Croatia, as Metropolitan writes, as reported by City magazine.

Dozens of different species of sharks live in the Croatian Adriatic, going about their daily business and bothering nobody, despite the sheer amount of people in the sea during the hot summer months. Research by a Croatian-Slovenian team showed that more than half of these sharks are unfortunately at risk. They are mainly threatened by fishing, as they often become entangled in nets and die. Although hundreds of sharks can be found in Croatian Adriatic, they are very rarely seen because they usually stay away from crowded beaches and human activity. However, a group of sharks has been spending time near Split's largest beach over more recent weeks.

"There's a group of sharks here that came here to mate, and we estimate that there were between 200 and 300 of them here in August," Croatian researcher and lecturer Alen Soldo explained to, adding that people rarely notice them because they usually swim in deeper waters and keep themselves to themselves.

Most of them are harmless species of sharks reaching about a metre and a half in size only. Soldo explained that from time to time, more dangerous species of sharks do enter  and spend periods of time living in Croatian waters, but, according to him, this is quite rare.

The last fatal shark attack to take place in Croatia was recorded back during the seventies in Lokva Rogoznica. Soldo believes that the person who tragically lost their life was attacked by a large Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias). 

Fourteen years ago in Croatia, Slovenian national Damijan Pesko was also attacked by a shark, but he luckily survived. In conversation with Metropolitan, he said that Professor Soldo analysed the teeth of the shark, and it was likely one which weighed in at around one tonne.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Pula Aquarium Gets New Resident Which Changes Own Gender

August the 16th, 2022 - The Pula Aquarium, known for its efforts in conservation and the rescue and rehabilitation of all sorts of Adriatic marine lifeforms, has a new and very interesting resident which can change its own gender every eight years.

As Morski writes, over more recent days, the much loved Pula Aquarium presented to the public the third largest fish of its future tropical lineup, a Humphead wrass named Napoleon (Cheilinus undulatus), the largest bony fish which naturally lives on coral reefs.

The Humphead wrasse is an unusual looking fish which stands out for both its colour and its size, and it got its name from the large hump on its head that resembles Napoleon Bonaparte's hat - hence the name.

What is rather remarkable about this fish, is the fact that after the eighth year of its life, it changes its gender from female to male, and during this sex change, the colour of the body also changes - from orange-red to dark blue-green. This species is extremely important for the health of coral reefs because it feeds on an animal known as the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci), which eats coral and given the chance, destroys these gorgeous reefs.

Humphead wrasse are a very widespread Indo-Pacific species, they reach an impressive body size of up to 2.2 meters and a weight of 191 kilograms with a lifespan of up to 32 years. It is quite a rare fish, but despite that, it is still unfortunately hunted for its tasty meat, and according to the IUCN, it is now considered an endangered species as a result of that. Due to overfishing, their population has decreased by a worrying 50 percent in the last 30 years alone, Aquarium Pula explained when discussing their new resident, Napoleon.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 22 July 2022

Seven Living Croatian Noble Pen Shells Discovered in Porec Waters

July the 22nd, 2022 - Croatian noble pen shells, much like pen shells which were once found in abundance across the Mediterranean, are now a dying breed. To save them from becoming extinct, a fate from which they'd never return, they are strictly protected by law in Croatia, and there are numerous initiatives underway to keep them alive.

Seven living Croatian noble pen shells have been found in the Porec waters, which is enough to give researchers, experts and carers a spring in their step.

As Lucio Lorencin/Morski writes, on July the 17th, the Porec-based Society for Underwater Activities and Sport Fishing conducted a diving search in the area of ​​Plicina Civran. The aim of the search was to verify reports of live Croatian noble pen shells (Pinna nobilis). In addition to the Porec club, divers from Medulin clubs also participated: EKO MORE and RK "CENTAR".

The divers searched the seabed, spanning two hectares. To the great surprise and satisfaction of all participants, seven live Croatian noble pen shells were found among the many shells of dead ones, likely victims of the disease which swept the Mediterranean back in 2016, snuffing out the lives of many.

One of the pen shells found is "older", with a height of around 20 cm. The other 6 are younger, ranging from 10 to 60 mm tall. The people of Porec affectionately gave the name "Puskica" to the larger of the shells. The other small pen shells found alive in this area are located in the zone around Puskica.

Of the Croatian noble pen shells found in the Plicina Civran area, which lies just north of Porec, the smallest one is somewhat special. While all the others are anchored naturally into the sand, this one is growing attached to a small sea sponge - Spongia officinalis.

The bottom is rocky and interspersed with sandy surfaces. Puskica is surrounded by a meadow of "thin" sea fringe, comprised of a type of sea algae from the "Cymodoceaceae" family. The Medulin divers recalled that they had previously discovered the most numerous living pen shells in the meadows of a marine flowering plant called "Posidonia oceanica".

The Medulin diving association EKO MORE, at the instigation of Marinko Babic, has been involved in the search for surviving Croatian noble pen shells since back in autumn 2020. 

Since then, they've found 9 live pen shells in the waters of Medulin and Pula. Under the coordination of biologist Sandro Dujmovic from the Brijuni National Park Public Institution and Silvie Buttignoni from JU "Natura Histrica", metal cages were placed around 7 of those pen shells to protect them from possible predators (octopus, crabs, sea bream, and of course, humans).

Noble pen shells were observed dying en masse in Spain back in 2016 owing to a disease, and since then it has affected the entire Mediterranean. Here in the Adriatic Sea, the first pen shell deaths were recorded in 2019. Mortality in many locations is a tragic 100%, and due to the dramatic decline in their population, the noble pen shell received the status of a critically endangered species in just one year.

It is believed that the cause of this pen shell plague is a parasite called "Haplosporidium pinnae". Sea currents and especially higher sea temperatures in the summer months favour the transfer from pericarp to pericarp.

In 2020, the occurrence of this plague affected Mediterranean countries with pen shell population mortality of up to 100%. So far, not a single effective method has been established that could prevent plague and the spread of infection.

In order to preserve the noble pen shell as of 2020, the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development implemented a project called ''The preservation of the pinna nobilis in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea''.

According to this project, the Adriatic is divided into three regions: northern, central and southern. The coordinators of the activities by region are: the Brijuni National Park Public Institution (for the northern Adriatic), the Telascica Nature Park Public Institution (for the central Adriatic) and the "More i karst" Institution (for the southern Adriatic). Everyone who notices a live pen shell is invited to remember the location and report it to the regional coordinators. It is important to note that Croatian noble pen shells should never be touched, it is enough to gently wave near it with your fingers the under water, if it is alive, the shell will close.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

USKOK Opens Probe into Smuggling of Protected Marine Species

ZAGREB, 20 July 2022 - The USKOK anti-corruption office has opened an investigation into 11 Croatian and five Italian nationals on suspicion of poaching and smuggling protected marine species -- sea cucumbers and sea urchins for the Italian market and date shells for the Croatian market.

By smuggling the protected species, the suspects defrauded the state budget of more than HRK 11 million and split at least HRK 700,000 among themselves, according to the police and USKOK.

Gathering sea cucumbers is banned in Croatia while gathering sea urchins requires permission from the competent government department. Sea urchins and date shells are strictly protected species in Croatia.

Although they were aware that these were protected species, some of the suspects engaged in gathering sea urchins and sea cucumbers near Split, Kaštela, Trogir and Šolta island, using professional diving equipment, while two gathered date shells.

They transported a certain quantity of sea urchins and sea cucumbers to Zadar and Biograd and the rest to warehouses in Kaštel Stari and Knin. In the warehouses, they packed them in plastic containers for further illegal transport to Italy. They also used the warehouses to process sea urchin roe and pack it in jars.

The sea cucumbers, sea urchins and roe were smuggled to Italy for sale on the illegal market.

The suspects sold at least 19,000 kg of sea cucumber on the black market in Croatia and Italy for at least HRK 30 per kg, 3,520 kg of sea urchins for HRK 25 per kg, 62 kg of sea urchin roe for HRK 800 per kg, and 6.35 kg of date shells for HRK 250 per kg.

Prosecutors recommended that the Split-Dalmatia County Court investigating judge order investigative custody for 11 suspects.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

For more news about Croatia, click here.

Monday, 18 July 2022

100,000 Octopuses Released into Split Waters as Part of Wider Project

July the 18th, 2022 - The Split waters are richer for around 100,000 octopuses in their early phases of development after they were released there as part of a wider project involving them.

As Morski writes, the Split Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, in cooperation with the Croatian Association for Sport Fishing at Sea, has begun research into the possibility of raising octopuses in their early developmental stages for the purpose of their repopulation.

As part of the research, hundreds of thousands of individual octopus larvae were released into the sea, more precisely into the Split waters. Over the next year, the success of the trial ''re-stock'' of these octopuses, as well as the habitat area of ​​the released individuals, will be fully evaluated.

The octopus is Croatia's largest and most famous cephalopod, which has always been used for food. As the fish catch gradually decreased, cephalopods began to be exploited more intensively, so their value also increased. Today, due to significant demand, octopuses are exposed to intensive exploitation. They are being hunted and caught by almost everyone, from sport and recreational fishermen to professional ones. This inevitably leads to the thinning out of the octopus' precious habitat. The result is not only a lack of octopus for human needs, but also a damaged ecosystem in which the octopus plays a highly important role.

The sustainability of octopus populations can be achieved by reducing the demand for its meat or by strict regulation and increased control during fishing. However, if it isn't possible to achieve sustainability in such a way, what can also be considered is ''stocking'' or repopulation. Preliminary observations point to this possibility, so the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries, in cooperation with the Croatian Association for Sport Fishing at Sea, launched a study that should define a technical-technological model for the cultivation of octopuses in their stages of early development, and find the best model that will guarantee their success in the Croatian Adriatic Sea.

''Releasing octopus paralarvae into the sea is actually a repetition of the preliminary research started back in the summer of 2019, which wasn't completed due to the coronavirus pandemic,'' noted Dr. Leon Grubisic, the head of the Aquaculture Laboratory of the Split Institute.

With the help of a sports fisherman, before the pandemic, we found two individuals on the island of Čiovo that were released from our laboratory as paralarvae at only a few days old, but this year we hope to get much more precise results,'' added Dr. Grubisic.

Before the experiment was carried out, the condition of the octopus settlement in the wider area of ​​the intervention was assessed, and the parent stock was provided, which spawned under controlled conditions.

''Octopuses live carefree and lay eggs in our pools, the incubation time is about four weeks. During this time, just like in nature, the larvae of crabs hatch and become food for the newly hatched octopuses. With this experiment, we investigated ways of feeding young octopuses with crab larvae and brine shrimp. In nature, 1 percent of octopus larvae survive the larval stage, with this experiment we expect that percentage could be higherm'' said Dr. Grubisic.

Dr. Tanja Segvic Bubic, a senior research associate at the Aquaculture Laboratory, explained how she can recognise if an octopus in the wild is a baby released from the Institute.

''Since it isn't possible to put a visible mark on the octopuses, which could be used to identify them one year after their release, we carried out genotyping of the parents and paralarvae of the octopuses with microsatellite markers. By sampling the biological material of wild individuals and analysing their DNA, we can determine the parental relationship with the octopuses from our pools,'' explained Dr. Segvic Bubic.

The released octopuses should settle in the Split waters for the next year, where they will become part of the wild population. Employees of the Institute will try to find as many octopuses as possible by diving and sample them using non-aggressive methods. However, in order for the results to be as high quality as possible, the Institute and the aforementioned association are hoping for the help of local fishermen who will hunt the octopuses. Exactly two caught octopuses found on Čiovo back in 2019 genetically matched the individuals released in Split six months earlier.

''We know that many fishermen will hunt octopus in the Split waters, so we'd like to invite them to cooperate with us. Before they go out fishing, we will explain to them how to sample a very small piece of the octopus they caught for the purposes of DNA analysis,'' concluded Dr. Segvic Bubic.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Friday, 15 July 2022

Gebruder Weiss Continuing Activities to Protect Croatian Noble Pen Shells

July the 5th, 2022 - Croatian noble pen shells are a seriously endangered species, with this beautiful form of life being forced into peril across the entire Mediterranean since a disease took hold back in 2016. Efforts to preserve them here in Croatian waters are well and truly underway.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, during the height of the scorching Croatian summer season, it's more important than ever to warn people of the challenges and potential dangers facing the ecosystem of the Adriatic Sea, which is extremely rich in different plant and animal species, but also extremely sensitive due to its relative shallowness and natural position.

Mass tourism and irresponsible human behaviour have led to the fact that today, numerous species in the Adriatic have been declared endangered, are strictly protected or have been declared to be rare species and as such are protected by international treaties in addition to Croatian laws. Among them are mammals such as bottlenose dolphins or Mediterranean seals, various species of turtles, sea urchins, crabs and fish, as well as shellfish, the most famous of which is the Croatian noble pen shell, a frequent victim of illegal fishing by tourists.

Aware of the growing need to protect plant and animal species in their natural environment, the multinational company Gebrüder Weiss renewed its cooperation with the Aquarium in Pula, where with the support of the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency, the ''Noble Sanctuary'' was built - an innovative space where Croatian noble pen shells, a legally protected species of bivalve mollusc, are protected with the aim of restoring the condition of this native population.

The Pula Aquarium's ''Noble Sanctuary'' is currently the only institution responsible for keeping critically endangered young and adult noble penshells in ex-situ conditions in the Republic of Croatia. This continues the socially responsible cooperation between Gebrüder Weiss and the Pula Aquarium.

"The project of preserving the most endangered Adriatic endemic species is extremely important to us, and we want to return these precious Croatian noble pen shells to our waters. Unfortunately, man's harmful impact on nature and the environment is increasingly visible, and there's now no time left to wait - we're all being called to action. At Gebrüder Weiss, we foster a policy of sustainable and socially responsible business and participate in numerous environmental actions to reduce environmental pollution and work to better influence the development of biodiversity in different parts of the world," said Barbara Bujacic, the director of Gebruder Weiss Croatia.

"We're extremely pleased that the important project dedicated to the preservation of the Croatian noble pen shell (Pinna nobilis) in the Adriatic Sea is continuing through cooperation with Gebruder Weiss, and that with joint efforts, we're able to provide the necessary infrastructure to save this species from extinction. To date, we've managed to help numerous young individual pen shells to find their safe haven. With further studies and invested effort, we're sure that we'll manage to achieve the ultimate goal - the successful reproduction of these noble pen shells under quarantine conditions and the successful breeding of their descendants for the purpose of the repopulation of this species in the wild," said Marija Aleksandra Bel Dajkovic, the head of the Pula Aquarium's expert department.

This, otherwise the largest Adriatic shellfish remaining, enriches the coast and keeps the sea clean.

Since the autumn of 2016, the noble pen shell has become even more endangered. A newly discovered parasite, Haplosporidium pinnae, spread intensively throughout the Mediterranean Sea and killed over 99 percent of all noble pen shells in the world, and only about twenty living adults managed to get rid of this parasite and developed the proper resistance to its devastating influence.

New scientific discoveries stimulated by intensive international cooperation have facilitated and improved the maintenance of noble pen shells under strictly controlled conditions.

With the aim of long-term preservation of this sensitive species, the Pula Aquarium, in cooperation with the LIMIA laboratory and the Institute for the Conservation of Seas and Marine Sciences IMEDMAR-UCV in Spain, carried out a project of genome sequencing of the noble pen shells' DNA in a completely non-invasive way. The sequenced genome will help with the further understanding of this species in future research.

Croatian noble pen shells are also the largest Adriatic shellfish and an indicator of the cleanliness of the sea. It is the most famous Mediterranean endemic species and is found at all sea depths along the coast, and it most often lives on sandy and muddy seabeds full of marine flowering plants, from whose organic matter it feeds. In shallower seas, noble pen shells can filter up to 2 thousand litres of water per day in order to feed on phytoplankton. Since it is a hermaphrodite, it doesn't need either the sperm or eggs of any other shellfish individuals in order to reproduce - it releases both and thus fertilises the larvae on its own, which then develop independently in the sea.

In order for this species to continue to develop, grow and reproduce more quickly, live food cultivation was established in the sanctuary and cooperation with Croatian and international institutions was strengthened. Currently, the Pula Aquarium has ten young Croatian noble pen shells found in the period from October 2021 to June 2022 at the locations of Mali Losinj, the Brijuni National Park, Plavnik island and near Rovinj.

Guided by the goals of sustainable development and care for the community and the environment, Gebruder Weiss plans to continue with activities related to the protection of the biological diversity of the Adriatic Sea.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Highly Poisonous Silver-cheeked Toadfish Appears in Croatian Waters Again

July the 13th, 2022 - An extremely poisonous bony fish called the silver-cheeked toadfish (Lagocephalus sceleratus), sometimes also referred to as the Sennin-fugu, has appeared in Croatian waters recently.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a brand new species of fish appears in Croatian waters or in the wider Adriatic Sea seemingly every single week due to temperature changes. A few months ago, a fisherman near the island of Kosar near Pasman caught a poisonous fish, the highly poisonous and very dangerous silver-cheeked toadfish (Lagocephalus sceleratus), writes City magazine.

This is an extremely poisonous and deadly species, which contains the powerful thermostable poison tetrodotoxin in its muscles, liver and skin. Its consumption is prohibited in all European Union (EU) countries, but in Japan it is a gastronomic delicacy known as fugu, which is prepared according to special procedures due to its deadly poison.

It is believed that the thermostable poison this fish contains is several hundred times stronger than cyanide.

What kind of fish this actually is was discussed and further explained on N1 Croatia/Hrvatska, when Dr. Jakov Dulcic, the head of the laboratory for ichthyology and coastal fishing of the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split, was asked about them.

"It's very widespread in the Indian Ocean, the Western Pacific and in the Red Sea. It is a Lessepsian migrant, which means that it reached the Mediterranean from the Red Sea via the Suez Canal. It's an extremely invasive species that has fully established its populations across the the Mediterranean (especially in its eastern part),'' explained Dr. Jakov Dulcic.

He added that this fish was first seen in Croatian waters close to the island of Jakljan near Dubrovnik back in 2012. Then it was found along the Albanian, Montenegrin and Croatian coasts.

The Institute warned swimmers and those fishing on social media that, if they do come across this deadly fish in Croatian waters, to avoid direct contact if possible, and if that is impossible, to handle it extremely carefully. In addition to the poison, this species has a strong jaw with sharp teeth, and its bite can cause serious injuries.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Thursday, 7 July 2022

Marine Studies Expert Talks Sharks in the Croatian Adriatic Sea

July the 7th, 2022 - There are as many as 34 different types of shark living in the Croatian Adriatic Sea, and while that might cause some to gasp in horror and vow to never take another dip in the sparkling waters again, rest assured that shark attacks are extremely rare, and that the situation for Croatian waters is much safer than it is for many others.

A recent fatal shark attack in the Red Sea along Egypt's coastline which resulted in the tragic death of an Austrian woman has caused many to remember the dangers of the sea, but the Croatian Adriatic Sea is very safe, despite the array of sharks who call it home.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a Professor at the University Department of Marine Studies of the University of Split, Alen Soldo, was recently a live guest on N1 Studio and commented on the warming of the world's seas, the more frequent appearance of jellyfish, as well as sharks living in the Croatian Adriatic Sea.

Commenting on the fact that the sea is getting warmer, Professor Soldo said that these temperatures are unusual considering the time of year.

"If you look at the overall situation, there's been quite a long period of high air temperatures, low rainfall and a lack of winds that should help mix the upper, warmer layers of the sea with the lower, cooler ones. It's clear that this temperature is the result of this whole situation, and if these other things and circumstances don't change, we can expect that temperature to be even higher," warned Soldo.

Regarding the apparently more frequent reports of the appearance of jellyfish in Istria, he says that it isn't related to the warming of the sea.

"Jellyfish feed on planktonic organisms and it's likely that the amount of plankton in those waters is higher during this period," he said.

"Given the usual weather conditions for this time of year, it would be expected that the jellyfish would disappear and head off elsewhere, but in this situation we cannot guarantee that they'll leave. It's difficult to predict,'' he added.

When it comes to the question of just why are there more jellyfish appearing in the sea near Istria and Kvarner, he said that this is indeed a very unusual year, but that these animals are unlikely to cause any bother to humans.

He also briefly commented on the recent shark attack which resulted in the horrendous death of an Austrian woman who was swimming in Egypt's Red Sea.

"As far as the case in Egypt is concerned, knowing the history of those attacks, we can assume that the species responsible doesn't live in the Croatian Adriatic Sea," he explained, adding that he and a colleague of his from neighbouring Slovenia are currently working on a paper about sharks who live in the Adriatic and says that they have counted 34 species that live here permanently or occasionally come to the Adriatic.

"Out of those 34 species, only three are potentially dangerous, they are the Short-fin mako shark and the Porbeagle. The only problem here is that the Great White Shark tends to follow the schools of tuna. The last fatal attack occured in 1974, after that there was only one other attack in 2008 that was not fatal. The Croatian Adriatic Sea is much safer than other seas," explained Soldo.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 12 June 2022

Friend of the Sea Certificate to be Given to Beloved Pula Aquarium

June the 12th, 2022 - The much loved Pula Aquarium is set to be handed the prestigious Friend of the Sea certificate in just a few days.

As Morski writes, the Pula Aquarium will receive the prestigious "Friend of the sea" certificate of self-sustainability from the World Sustainability Organisation on Friday, June the 17th, 2022.

The main goal of the World Sustainability Organisation is to encourage the development of companies in a sustainable direction, and by receiving the "Friend of the sea" certificate, Pula Aquarium has very clearly shown that it is well and truly committed to social responsibility and active involvement in breeding programmes for endangered species, all to preserve wild populations of various marine animals and marine ecosystems through their own business.

In addition to its core activities, the Pula Aquarium directly contributes to the protection of nature and sensitive and endangered marine species, which is why it has been recognised by national and international institutions, primarily for carrying out activities to protect sea turtles and other reptiles, not to mention the critically endangered noble pen shells, the population of which across the Mediterranean is dwindling.

The number of living noble pen shells in the Croatian Adriatic is believed to stand at a mere twenty, with hopes that there are more to be found yet.

The Pula Aquarium also indirectly contributes to the community itself by raising public awareness and restoring habitat and biodiversity. In addition to education, the main goals of the entity are to ensure animal welfare, nature and energy, along with the professional development of employees in each business segment.

With its own development, this aquarium follows many different global trends and carefully selects raw materials in order to use the most acceptable solutions for the environment and sustainability, which are also the reasons for the recognition of the Pula Aquarium as an example of good practice.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Only 20 Croatian Noble Pen Shells Left Alive in Adriatic Sea

May the 22nd, 2022 - There are only twenty living Croatian noble pen shells left in this country's part of the Adriatic Sea. A very important project is now underway to try to stop this shellfish from entering the history books entirely, from which it would likely never return.

As Morski/Bruna Rizvanovic writes, the noble pen shell (Pinna nobilis) is a strictly protected species in the Republic of Croatia, and is on the Red List of critically endangered species due to mass deaths caused by parasites (Haplosporidium pinnae) and bacteria (Mycobacterium sp.). The first confirmation of the outbreak in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea was received back in 2019. The contagion spread and affected the entire Croatian part of the Adriatic. Unfortunately, the plague did not bypass Lastovo's surrounding waters either.

The goal of the project entitled "The conservation of the noble pen shell (Pinna nobilis) in the Adriatic Sea" is to preserve and save this stunning Mediterranean endemic species of shellfish from extinction, and there are very, very few living specimens of the Croatian noble pen shell left to speak of. This praiseworthy project is being coordinated by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of the Republic of Croatia, and is being funded by the Energy Efficiency Fund.

The project funds are intended for the implementation of in situ activities, such as setting up collectors for larvae, searching the seabed for living Croatian noble pen shell individuals and ensuring their full protection with the use of cages, shielding them from predators and anthropogenic impact, as well as further education. It also includes ex situ activities such as the placement of live individuals in controlled systems, their maintenance, and running laboratory diagnostics.

Currently, there are about 20 living Croatian noble pen shell individuals in this country's part of the Adriatic Sea, and marine searches for more are still ongoing. This week, the research team of the Croatian Veterinary Institute and the staff of the Lastovo Islands Nature Park have set up collectors to receive larvae in the waters surrounding Lastovo, which will be inspected in October. The collectors installed at six locations are located at a depth of 10 to 15 metres below the surface and are marked on with red buoys. If you spot them on your sailing route, be careful and make sure to totally avoid them.

If a Croatian noble pen shell is discovered and is potentially alive, you should very, very gently pass your hand over it through the water, and if it is alive, the shell will close itself in response to the disturbance. Care should be taken not to touch the individual and to disturb it as little as possible. You should then report your finding and its location by clicking this link.

Any intentional extraction of living or dead individuals is strictly prohibited by Croatian law.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

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