EU Protection for Oysters from Mali Ston?

Lauren Simmonds

Could Mali Ston’s most famed produce soon acquire special protection at the European level?

The oysters of Mali Ston are a much talked about gastronomic phenomenon and have been for centuries. Many a tourist, particularly gastro-oriented ones drawn to Croatia and Dalmatia for its cuisine, flock to Mali Ston and the surrounding areas to get a taste of the famous Mali Ston oysters. This carefully raised product of the area’s ancient and extremely rich mariculture has been being talked about and prized throughout Dalmatia, particularly in Dubrovnik, for far longer than any living memory. 

Could Mali Ston’s famed oysters soon gain European Union protection and cement their enormous regional importance on a much higher level?

As Morski writes on the 1st of March, 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Croatia has just published the specification for Mali Ston oysters on its website, which is a precondition for giving them a quality label on the national level.

In order to make this first step, mariculture expert dr. Sc. Valter Kožula, was engaged, Kožula created the specification that was sent to a separate Food Quality Department at the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Croatia. They provided with some remarks on which everything that needed to be corrected has been done, and that specification has now been harmonised with the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Croatia, and just published on the web of that ministry. At the same time, in the Official Gazette (Narodne Novine) it was announced that the specification has been completed, and that a two-month legal deadline has been set for potential grievances, according to a report from Slobodna Dalmacija/Ahmet Kalajdžić.

Grievances are generally not expected because production from of the most well-known Croatian associations is in question, of which 39 members and, more specifically producers provide 92 percent of the total production of Mali Ston oysters on the market.

”Only producers outside of the industry have the right to complain, which is, of course, difficult to expect,” stated Vedran Kunic, who is determined to see the project all the way through to the end.

In two months, the competent ministry should issue a decision on the protection of the quality of Mali Ston oysters at the national level, after which, all of the necessary documentation will be jointly passed on to the European Commission in the Belgian capital.

It is generally believed and expected that everything regarding the issue should be solved in Brussels in approximately a year, and that the official protection of Mali Ston oysters (Ostrea edulis) from the European Union will be issued in the spring of next year.

Should the oysters acquire the EU’s protection, they will become the very first flat European oysters to be protected by the quality mark.


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