Friday, 18 June 2021

Peljesac Peninsula Oyster and Mussel Production Facing Disaster

18 June, 2021 – Mali Ston on the Peljesac Peninsula is famous for its top quality oysters and mussels. But, recent drop in sales is threatening the livelihood of local producers and the Peljesac Peninsula oyster and mussel production as a whole.

The Peljesac Peninsula in Dubrovnik-Neretva Country is without a doubt one of the most beautiful parts in all of Croatia. Wine production and the cultivation of oysters and mussels have given it a well-earned international reputation. Traditions that span centuries, beautiful scenery and amazing historical towns and villages have turned Peljesac into one of the most favourite destinations for foreigners and locals alike.

It comes as no surprise that most of the yearly revenue of local shellfish farms comes from tourists travelling to Peljesac or restaurants around Croatia selling Peljesac Peninsula oysters and mussels. They're produced in cycles and are mainly sold fresh. So, any drop in sales usually means an un-recoverable loss. In 2020 there was an enormous drop in sales for Peljesac. This was the effect of COVID-19 related travel restrictions and the closing of restaurants.

Dangerous numbers

Slobodna Dalmacija released a report on the current state of oyster and mussel farming in Mali Ston with some alarming numbers to consider. Local aquaculture farmers are currently down 80% in revenue when compared to 2019. After a disastrous 2020, this number is very serious indeed. Along with this crisis, they are apparently facing problems with illegal oyster farms and illegal selling. According to a few interviewed producers, much of what is being sold doesn't even actually get recorded for tax purposes and this creates additional problems for those who are choosing to work above board and legally.

The President of a local association of shellfish producers, Marija Radic, denies there are illegal farms in operation in and around Peljesac. She also stated that instances of selling Peljesac Peninsula oysters and mussels without proper invoices is less common than some of the local producers might claim. However, she did confirm the numbers of around 80% in terms of the drop in sales are sadly correct. The only thing that can save the majority of Peljesac Peninsula oyster and mussel farmers is the return of tourism and restaurant consumption. The local market is simply too small and unable to alleviate such a dramatic drop in sales.

Do your part in helping out local businesses by visiting gorgeous Peljesac for a food, wine and beach trip. Here’s some of the best beaches on the peninsula and here you can find the locations of top local wineries.

For more, follow our dedicated business section.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Non-Refundable Support from County for Ston Oyster Farmers

As Morski writes on the 15th of September, 2019, Dubrovnik-Neretva County, of which the famous Ston is a part, has awarded non-refundable support to seventeen companies, more specifically to shellfish farmers. The large sum is to cover the costs of obtaining a prestigious mark of originality, the total amount of which stands at 68,000 kuna.

Namely, the oysters from Mali Ston (Malostonska kamenica) have been awarded the much-sought-after national originality label and therefore should soon be fully protected by the European Union (EU).

The designation of origin should give the Ston shellfish an easier placement and a guarantee of quality to the buyer. Ostrea edulis is the first seafood product to receive the protected designation of origin label. It is the first step in protecting the geographical origin of the so-called ''queen'' of the shellfish.

This procedure must first go before the European Commission (EC), and this means that the famous oysters from southern Dalmatia will be the first protected shellfish in the whole of the territory of the European Union.

This support for properly protecting Ston's much loved molluscs at the Union level is part of some of the intensive and ongoing activities in the Bay of Mali Ston, which have been continuously implemented by Dubrovnik-Neretva County. 

These activities related to Ston's produce have increased significantly over the past three years or so, ever since the jurisdiction over concessions in the Bay of Mali Ston was passed over into the hands of Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

In order to enable all of the necessary elements of the production process, Dubrovnik-Neretva County continuously monitors the goings on in the Bay of Mali Ston. Separate studies were conducted in cooperation with the competent ministry for the cultivation of mussels and oysters, and a comprehensive analysis of the situation in the Bay of Mali Ston is expected soon, with special attention being paid to protection against possible predators, and securing a safe shore site for unhindered shelling of the oysters.

Make sure to follow our dedicated lifestyle page for much more. If it's Dubrovnik and the extreme south of Dalmatia you're interested in, give Total Dubrovnik a follow or check out Dubrovnik in a Page.