December 18, 2018 — The marine ecosystem is threatened throughout the Mediterranean — including the Adriatic — experts warned HRT. A large number of commercial Croatian fish species are barely surviving. Experts suggest protective measures would help stem the dying out of the species left in the sea.
“Ninety-three per cent of all estimated fish stocks or resources that exist in the Mediterranean Sea, including the Adriatic Sea, are in a very bad state, meaning that people have been able to push the marine ecosystems to the limit,” says Danijel Kanski, a program manager for the World Wildlife Fund Adria.
The scampi population, for example, has taken a significant hit. The shellfish have all but disappeared from fishing nets. Their place at the table usurped by the abundant and much cheaper shrimp.
Even professionals who live off of wild-caught Croatian fish are seeking protective measures, according to Petar Baranović, a Sibenik-based fisherman with a marine fishery degree.
“There is one ‘no-take’ zone – with an absolute ban on fishing in the international waters of the Jabuka Canyon,” he said. “It’s showing results that are visible in the recovery of scampi and hake.”
The Jabuka Canyon is a hatchery for many marine species, including scampi. The ban on fishing led to an immediate rejuvenation.
Full nets are now more frequent, and the specimens larger.
Changing the mentality, education and cooperation of fishermen, science and the responsible ministries is key, experts suggest. But the bigger problem remains illegally-caught fish, which get sold directly to caterers off the books.
“We have 12 fishing inspectors on the entire Croatian coast, and we have 250 landing ports along the Croatian Adriatic coast,” Kanski said.
Concern continues to grow over the most important type of commercial Croatian fish – sardines. Protective measures were instituted, including an annual ban during the winter.
On December 16 this year, the ban on fishing sardines was introduced for larger vessels. Smaller boats, however, can continue fishing until Christmas Eve.
Whether the protective measures will work remains to be seen. But experts suggest even small; targeted bans will make a big difference.
Follow news about the Croatian fishing industry on TCN’s dedicated page.