Meeting of partners on the project Conservation of Pinna nobilis in the Adriatic


A meeting held in Brijuni of representatives of partners on the project of preserving the Pinna nobilis gathered around 60 experts. The aim of the annual meeting was to evaluate the results so far and set guidelines for future conservation activities of this unique species in the Croatian Adriatic.

Urged by the dying out of the Pinna nobilis in the Adriatic Sea that began in 2019, which led to its near complete extinction, in 2020 experts launched the project Conservation of the noble pen shell (Pinna nobilis) in the Adriatic Sea. The project worth more than 530,000 euros is coordinated at the national level by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and co-financed by the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund with 80%. The aim is to identify living individuals and ensure their monitoring, and to collect juvenile pen shells to ensure further presence of this species in the Adriatic.  

Vlatka Gulan Zetić, department head at the Environmental Protection Fund, emphasised the importance of implementing this project in the context of the alarming situation with pen shells throughout the Mediterranean. "One measure is to find potentially resistant individuals that could breed further and develop natural immunity. It is better to leave such individuals in a natural habitat, protecting them from possible anthropogenic activity," explained Gulan Zetić and pointed out that the threat to just one species had far-reaching implications for our environment. "That is why the Fund always supports biodiversity conservation projects. We have concluded co-financing agreements worth 430,000 euros with public institutions in the northern, central and southern Adriatic, and the results, which we had the opportunity to see today, are really encouraging."

The participants had the opportunity to visit the Pula Aquarium that is implementing the ex-situ breeding of the noble pen shell. The implementation of this project involves scientists and experts of 23 partners from three regions - northern, central and southern Adriatic, who  are employees of public institutions responsible for the management of protected natural values, science institutions, NGOs, and other professional organisations involved in the Pinna nobilis conservation activities.

At today's meeting, representatives of Slovenia, Italy, and Spain shared their experiences and insights gained during the implementation of activities and the exchange of ideas in the field of marine biodiversity conservation prompted a constructive discussion. The meeting also resulted in a plan of concrete conservation activities for the next period.

In the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea, there are currently 23 known locations of the live noble pen shells, and their condition is regularly monitored as part of the drive "Have you seen them?" from 2019, where the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development invites the public to report the locations where live individuals of the noble pen shell were observed, in order to identify, conserve and monitor the state of the population. So far, more than 2000 citizen alerts have been received, and in 2023 alone there were about 150, which shows great interest. In addition to the noble pen shell, valuable data on other species of shellfish were collected through these sighting reports. A particularly interesting species is Pinna rudis, for which some 20 locations have been reported, after it was last recorded in the Croatian waters in the 19th  century.