Call on Tourists in Croatia to Report Dolphin Sightings

Total Croatia News

Your help with dolphin spotting is requested on the Adriatic this summer.

On Wednesday, March 30, 2016, the German Society for Dolphin Conservation (Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine/GRD) published their annual call on German and other tourists along the Croatian coast to report dolphin sightings during their stay in Croatia.

Some 220 bottlenose dolphins are living in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea. After the extinction of the Mediterranean monk seal and the common dolphin, bottlenose dolphins are the only marine mammals still living in the Adriatic Sea, according to GRD.

Its small size makes this population vulnerable even to minor disturbances of the ecological balance. Moreover, the dolphins are facing threats from entanglement in fishing nets, overfishing, deliberate killing, and high-speed watercraft.

In 1999, GRD founded the project to “Save the Last Adriatic Dolphins” together with veterinary faculty members of Zagreb University. The German-Croatian project is carried out under the auspices of the Croatian Ministry of Environmental Protection within the framework of the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS).

In order to generate more data on the Adriatic dolphins, the GRD regularly updates an annual map of reported and documented (photo, video) dolphin sightings along the coast. Below is the map for 2016. To view the 2015 map, visit their site at


A visitor to Croatia can help update the map by reporting the sighting to the GRD. To do this in a correct and useful way, you can download an English language form frome here.

The GRD working to save the dolphins in the Adriatic Sea from extinction and ensure their long-term survival in this habitat. Important objects of our project include the establishment of protected areas. To this end, regular field work, including boat surveys and photo-identification of the individual animals, is carried out to identify vital feeding and breeding grounds of the Adriatic dolphins and determine the health of the population. Continuous awareness raising activities, including informative events and the distribution of leaflets and posters, are to sensitize the public at large about the threatened marine mammals and the need to protect them.

The Croatian team members have been actively engaged in dolphin conservation for decades. Thanks to their efforts, dolphins have been under legal protection since 1995. But laws alone cannot prevent the extinction of the Adriatic dolphins. 50 per cent of the dead cetaceans found along Croatian coasts die from human impact.

The GRD has also published a code of conduct if you see dolphins or whales at sea:


Code of Conduct

Based on the guidelines provided by the Croatian State Institute for Nature Protection (DZZP)

The welfare of the whales and dolphins you are watching in the wild should always come first. Responsible behaviour and awareness that you are only a guest in their realm are vital. Your correct behaviour is an important contribution to ensure that the dolphins can survive in the Adriatic Sea and that your encounter does not create additional stress and harassment to the animals. Be patient and disturb the marine mammals as little as possible:

All species of the cetaceans which are found in the Adriatic Sea are strictly protected under the Ordinance on the proclamation of wild species protected and strictly protected (OG 7/06 and OG 99/09) and a number of international regulations that have been signed by Croatia.

Do not chase the dolphins or drive your boat directly towards them;

If you wish to approach the dolphins, do it very slowly, keeping parallel to their course and avoid sudden changes of direction or speed which could confuse or disorientate them;

It is better to give them the choice of approaching you. The motor should be maintained in neutral or switched off;

Do not make sudden noises, especially with the engine as these could alarm the animals;

Ensure that no more than one boat is within 100 meters from the dolphins, or three boats within 200 m;

Do not stay with the dolphins for more than 30 minutes;

For your safety and theirs avoid diving or swimming with them, never offer them food or try to touch them;

Leave the area accelerating gradually when the boat is more than 100 m from the animals;

Do not throw litter overboard or leave it on the beach; plastic bags can accidentally be swallowed by the dolphins, causing their death.

Please help! Every donation counts to bring our project to save the last Adriatic dolphins to fruition!

Donation account:

Ges. z. Rettg. d. Delphine

Bank für Sozialwirtschaft

IBAN: DE57 7002 0500 0009 8348 00


Please indicate „Dolphin conservation in Croatia“


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment