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.
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.
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