Monday, 26 August 2019

VIDEO: Playful Dolphins Frolic in Sea Close to Kaštela Near Split

Dolphins are by far one of the world's favourite marine animals, and managing to get close to them in the wild is something that many people only dream of. One lucky guy from Split managed to capture wild dolphins playing in the sea near Kaštela, just northwest of the City of Split.

As Morski writes on the 26th of August, 2019, one young Split resident had an unforgettable experience while swimming with his father. Namely, playful dolphins were swimming in front of the boat in the bay of Kaštela, bringing with them beautiful scenes of carefree play.

After a summer of headlines about numerous species popping up in the Croatian Adriatic, including Mako sharks, blue sharks, and even snakes who had accidentally fallen into the water from overhanging trees, the end of August is made even nicer with yet another wonderful video of the inhabitants of the Adriatic doing what they do best.

The video was uploaded to YouTube on the 24th of August, and the description states:

"Me and my dad were swimming under the Kaštela marina when we met 4 - 5 dolphins, and at one point, one separated from the others and arrived in front of our boat, Rocket and started to follow us. The video lasts about 8 minutes and I will try to show you the most interesting part, if there is interest, I might insert another piece of video,'' wrote the author of the video.

See for yourself what this unexpected and beautiful experience was like for the pair. Watch the video below:

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Saturday, 24 August 2019

VIDEO: Sea Lamprey from Depths of Croatian Adriatic Near Mljet

As Morski writes on the 20th of August, 2019, sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) are parasites that live on many species of fish and mammals. These strange creatures spawn once in a lifetime in fresh water, and instead of hooking itself onto a passing fish, this specimen managed to attach itself to the stern of a boat in Croatian waters.

According to Podvodni.hr, the younger sea lampreys remain buried in the relative safety of river silt during the entire first year of its life, later on, it moves down and out to sea. They have several life stages, during their "sea" phase they try to find a victim, from whom they will suck blood. These unlucky ''hosts'' are mostly dolphins, larger fish, and turtles, but boats and ships of course usually do not belong to this group.

This morning, Marin recorded an unusual sight of a sea lamprey near the island of Mljet in southern Dalmatia, the lamprey had somehow managed to latch itself onto the stern of the ship, likely mistakenly. He tried to remove the lamprey and set it back off into the sea but it persistently returned and reattached itself to the stern.

Although these sea lampreys are quite rare in Croatian waters, in places where they're more common, this odd behavior from them is often observed, there are assumptions that lampreys attach themselves to their hosts and become ''hitch hikers'' on their migrations, but they are more likely to keep trying to attach themselves to vessels due to general misjudgment.

They are elongated, smooth and slimy and without a shell. They have two dorsal fins, are a greenish brown to greenish gray colour on the upper side, and pale on the underside. They can also be black marbled.

They can grow up to 3 kilograms in weight and reach around one metre in length.

While not often seen, lampreys live throughout the Croatian Adriatic, although it is found mostly near the mouths of rivers, and in the rivers themselves.

Watch the video here:

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Sunday, 21 July 2019

Rarely Seen Octopus Appears in Adriatic Near Hvar, Brač and Šolta

As Morski writes on the 20th of July, 2019, between the Dalmatian islands of Hvar, Brač and Šolta there has been an invasion of a certain unusual species of octopus. It is a blanket octopus (Tremoctopus violaceus), an otherwise very rarely seen species in the Adriatic sea.

Very similar occurrences such as this have been noted before, and it's more than likely some of the hydrographic conditions in the sea were affected, which was conducive to the current ''invasion'' of these animals in the Croatian Adriatic.

Just to get an idea of ​​how rare this species actually is in the Adriatic, the last known appearance of the blanket octopus in such a small area took place back in 1936.

We know very little about the life of these creatures which are otherwise widespread but very "rare" in all of the world's seas. Back in 2002, the first male was discovered and since then we have known that this is an animal with the largest difference in size between the two sexes. The males are only 2.4 centimeters long, while females can grow up to 2 metres in length.

An exploration of the feeding of large predatory fish in the Mediterranean in 2015 has shown that local predatory fish do eat the blanket octopus, and this tells us that this octopus might not actually be as rare in these parts as we think it is, but of course, we're not fish, and fish know the world below the sea much better than we do or ever could.

If you see or manage to catch this type of blanket octopus, please make sure experts can officially record your findings, asks Podvodni.

Morski discussed this topic further with the editor of the Podvodni.hr portal, who is the author of numerous texts with marine themes, as well as an associate of the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries in Split, Pero Ugarković.

''As far as the Adriatic is concerned, this is a sensational phenomenon that has appeared in such a small area, in such large numbers. Over ten of them have been caught, most of which were released back into the sea,'' says Ugarković.

''Back in the 19th century, Kolombatović encountered several blanket octopus near Split when fishing and assumed that they're often hunted, but since then there has actually been no data on this species except a few sporadic catches and several anecdotes about them. One similar phenomenon occurred in the northern Adriatic back in 1936 when several of them in the Adriatic were caught in a small area.

They've always been considered very rare in the whole of the Mediterranean, but they'd be seen from time to time. After a survey that was conducted three years ago, where they looked into what large predatory fish were eating, it was concluded that blanket octopus are still common in the sea. Tuna seem to eat a lot of them.

The problem is that we can't see them. Some hydrographic conditions changed and that's why there are suddenly a lot of them. An Italian who watched them be caught back in 1936 tried to connect it with the warming of the sea, with it reaching over 25°C, which would fit with this sudden emergence of them in the Croatian Adriatic.

We know little about this species, and when it comes to species we don't know much about, we can't even begin to estimate how threatened they are,'' concluded Ugarković.

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Friday, 12 July 2019

VIDEO: More Footage as Shark Appears in Waters Near Vir!

Another shark says hello to the camera after getting itself stuck in an area fenced off for swimmers near Vir.

The Mako shark which made itself somewhat famous in various places along the Dalmatian coast, from Makarska to the Korčula channel, to the Brač channel, captured the attention of many people. While those counting on tourist money weren't best pleased with the camera loving animal's timing, many were delighted to get to be able to see such a beautiful animal up close and personal, and capture video footage of it.

After the Mako shark, which appeared to be juvenile and healthy, what was suspected to have been a Blue shark appeared in the sea near Primošten, and very close to the shore for that matter. 

Experts quickly weighed in to try to stop the spread of ''Jaws-style'' propaganda, reminding everyone that the Mako shark in particular is a protected species and is highly unlikely to harm or even go anywhere near a swimmer. 

The experts talked about how the appearance of Mako sharks in the Croatian Adriatic was in fact an excellent thing, and that there was once an abundance of them before their population decreased significantly following the end of the Second World War.

After the sharks came snakes, with some amazing footage of the longest type of European snake making its way across the water and attempting to board and nearby boat in its quest for dry land. The expert stated that all snakes can swim, that the snake, which was likely in an overhanging tree, had probably fallen accidentally into the water. He reiterated just what the shark experts did - the snake will do all it can to avoid humans and is highly unlikely to bite.

Now, after an apparently snakeless, sharkless period, another shark has come to say hello to the cameras. This time in the sea near Vir.

As Index writes on the 12th of July, 2019, this morning at around 08:30, a shark was seen swimming in the vicinity of people at Biskupljača beach on the Dalmatian island of Vir. As the Facebook page Cro2go posted, a family from Zagreb who are on holiday on Vir managed to capture video footage of it. 

"Apparenty, it was circling the beach all the time, we didn't know whether or not it was gone... There were other people who filmed the shark, some people even went out on a boat to see what the situation was. It's allegedly a type which doesn't attack people, a Blue shark,'' stated the family who filmed the shark.

HRT reports that the shark had somehow managed to enter into an area fenced off for swimmers. After unsuccessfully attempting to get back out to the open sea, two swimmers helpfully directed the animal back to where it needed to be.

Watch the video here:

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Tuesday, 18 June 2019

More Footage Captured As Shark Appears Near Primošten

Croatia has been having its very own Shark Week over the last few days or so, with pieces of footage having emerged from Makarska, the Korčula channel, the Brač channel, and now from the waters near Primošten.

As we recently reported, the first sighting was captured on video by a German tourist sailing with his family near Makarska. The animal was identified as a Mako shark. A couple of days later, more footage of a Mako shark was published, this time it was filmed by a Croat accompanying tourists on a boat in the Korčula channel. The footage was exceptionally clear and the animal appeared calm and far from camera shy. The third piece of footage showcased a Mako shark once again, and was filmed close to where the original video was captured near Makarska, this time in the Brač channel.

All of these sightings at the dawn of 2019's summer tourist season isn't exactly great timing for some, but the experts, who have come out to defend the Mako sharks and explain the need for their presence in the Adriatic sea, their appearance is excellent.

Mako sharks were once much more common in the Croatian Adriatic than they are now, with their numbers having dropped significantly, and with the majority of other species of large pelagic sharks sadly disappearing entirely, at least to our awareness. 

After the Mako who was doing a tour of the waters of central Dalmatia went quiet for a while, it appears another shark has taken to the waters near Primošten. 

As Morski writes on the 17th of June, 2019, the person who viewed the animal claims that it was at least two feet long and approached very close to from the shoreline. An expert has said that from this footage, it is difficult to accurately determine what type of shark is in question.

''I was on the beach when a big shark drifted into the bay in Zečevo. He hung around for two minutes just two metres from the shore. He was swimming in a circle continuously,'' stated a reader of 24sata, who took the video while on holiday.

As it's difficult to determine what species has shown up in Primošten, it's unknown whether it's the same Mako that has been doing the rounds in Dalmatia recently. Some experts have claimed that the shark could be a small Blue shark.

Click HERE for the video published by 24sata.

Seen a shark in the Adriatic? Send us your footage.

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Sunday, 16 June 2019

Pula Professor: The Adriatic Needs Sharks, There's No Need to Fear Them!

As Glas Istre/Dubravko Grakalic writes on the 16th of June, 2019, one professor from the University of Pula weighs in on the Mako shark sightings that have been taking place in the Croatian Adriatic recently.

''Sharks aren't a threat to us, but we're a threat to them. If we don't help in their recovery, the sea will cease to be what it is, a rich, complex treasure trove of life, key to maintaining our lives on the blue planet. It will just become a big, empty body of salt water,'' emphasised Dr. Bojan Lazar, a respected professor from the University of Pula.

While amazing to be able to witness and film, the appearance of the Mako shark near Makarska and then in the Korčula channel was perhaps not the best event for some tourists and locals, while for experts, it's excellent news.

Dr. Bojan Lazar, a professor of conservation biology and a specialist in large sea vertebrae of the Department of Natural and Health Studies at the University of Pula, who teaches students in Koper, Slovenia, as well as in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, says that sharks are a necessary part of the marine ecosystem, and that the chances of seeing a replay of the classic film ''Jaws'', which sent out an extremely incorrect and damaging image of sharks into the world, is far smaller than the chances of being hit by a car while buying ice cream are.

In the vicinity of Makarska, a somewhat rare species of shark, a Mako shark, showed up and was far from camera shy. Mako sharks were once much more present in the Croatian Adriatic than they are today.

''Judging by the footage, it was a Mako shark that was filmed in Makarska. It looks like a juvenile animal, that is, a young shark that is known to approach closer to the coastline due its diet generally being made up of smaller fish. Older and bigger specimens of this species are extremely fast, eating lobster fish, swordfish or tuna, while sexually immature, juvenile specimens often approach the coastline to feed on smaller types of fish,'' explains Dr. Lazar and says: "In Croatia, the Mako shark holds the status of a critically endangered species and is thus protected by law. It used to be part of a rich marine fauna both in the Adriatic and in the Mediterranean sea.''

The Mako shark belongs to the top predators of the marine system of pelagic sharks. The global populations of this shark species worldwide have been reduced in the last fifty years. This means that today, in the world's oceans, there are only three to five percent of these big sharks. In addition to the Blue shark, the Mako shark is the fastest species of shark, and can reach speeds of 74 kilometres per hour when chasing its target, giving its prey little chance of escape.

Professor Lazar says that the appearance of Mako sharks in the Croatian Adriatic today, unfortunately, is a rarity. Recent research shows that since the end of the Second World War to today, the number of large sharks in the Adriatic has decreased by over 94 percent, while some species have sadly completely disappeared.

What makes the recent footage of this beautiful and seeminly very calm young Mako shark even more amazing is that the chance to actually be able to watch Mako sharks in the Adriatic sea today is rare. Since 1948, only sixty have been noticed, and these were mostly juvenile, sexually immature animals, emphasised Dr. Lazar.

It's interesting to note that in Croatia, archaic names are still used for sharks. The Great White Shark is still often referred to as the ljudožder in Croatia. This old Croatian word indicates that these sharks are blood thirsty and want to hunt and eat humans, which is not only incorrect but very damaging for their already shaky reputation.

These names were given at a time when we didn't really understand that sharks aren't mindless killing machines, and when we were very, very afraid of them. As stated, these inflammatory old names for sharks go hand in hand with the wrong perception many people still have of sharks, despite the fact that attacks are extremely rare and are almost always cases of mistaken identity, with the shark immediately retreating when realising that their target is in fact a human, and not a seal or other marine animal that it would typically prey upon.

The professor went on to explain that for many decades, sharks were hunted and killed out of fear.

The main message this Pula professor and marine expert wants to express is that the presence of Mako sharks in the Croatian Adriatic is something to be celebrated. View footage of the shark here, here and here.

Seen a Mako shark while sailing in the Adriatic? Send us your photos or videos!

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Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Oceanography Experts Weigh in on Croatian Mako Shark Sightings

June the 12th, 2019 - Sharks are truly stunning creatures and a chance to see one for ourselves is a rare and amazing opportunity. While some still aren't over Jaws and the somewhat over the top message it sent out, many people have managed to get over Quint's premature and very bloody death at the hands of an obviously mechanical Great White shark and move on with their lives, even daring to swim where we can't see the seabed.

Two pieces of footage of a beautiful Mako shark have surfaced over the last few days, one video was taken by a German tourist sailing with his family near Makarska, and the other was taken by a Croat accompanying tourists on a boat in the Korčula channel.

Both pieces of video footage from Dalmatia are of a Mako shark. These sharks do live in the Croatian Adriatic, as do other types, but it's rare that we get the chance to get up close and personal, much less take relatively clear video footage of them going about their days. Mako sharks, much like the majority of other sharks, prefer to stay well out of the way of humans, avoiding potential meetings and opting instead to hunt for food. 

The Mako shark lives primarily on fish, such as tuna and swordfish, but it will also tackle sea turtles and even sea birds should the opportunity arise. It is classed as a dangerous shark, but Mako sharks are aloof, and attacks on humans are incredibly rare.

As Morski writes on the 12th of June, 2019, experts from the Split Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries commented on the recent video footage of the Mako sharks in the Adriatic. They confirmed the claims made by Pero Ugarković, who first revealed that the shark in question is indeed a Mako shark.

The experts stated, among other facts about Mako sharks having become a bit of a rarity in the Croatian Adriatic, that this is a threatened and protected species, and stressed that there is no need to panic. Although there are cases of human attacks carried out by this species, they are extremely rare, and in the last 120 years, only 10 have been recorded worldwide.

If you happen to be sailing in Dalmatia, keep your eyes peeled and your cameras ready! Make sure to send us any footage of any Mako sharks you see.

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