[MARMAM] Losinj Dolphin Reserve

Drasko Holcer Drasko.Holcer at hpm.hr
Thu Aug 10 03:22:18 PDT 2006


DOLPHIN PROTECTION IN ADRIATIC SEA: AN EXAMPLE OF HOW APPLIED RESEARCH 
HELPS EFFECTIVE CONSERVATION OF MEDITERRANEAN BIODIVERSITY

On Sunday 6th August, during the celebration of the 14th Dolphin Day, 
held regularly since 1993 on the island of Lošinj, the State Secretary 
of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Dr. Jadran 
Antolovic, declared the establishment of the Lošinj Dolphin Reserve 
(Ministry of Culture, Republic of Croatia, UP/I-612-07/06-33/676, 
532-08-02-1/5-06-1, July 26, 2006). With him to celebrate this occasion 
were the Executive Secretary of The Agreement on the Conservation of 
Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and contiguous Atlantic 
area (ACCOBAMS), Dr. Marie-Christine Van Klaveren and the Assistant 
Minister for Nature Protection, Mr. Zoran Sikic. The celebration was 
hosted at the Lošinj Marine Education Centre the base for the activities 
of the Blue World Marine Institute for Research and Conservation. This 
achievement was also marked with congratulations sent by the President 
of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Stjepan Mesic for the successful 
fruition of research work undertaken by Blue World and concerted 
cooperation with representatives from the State Institute for Nature 
Protection, the Croatian Natural History Museum and the ACCOBAMS 
Secretariat.

The area (http://www.blue-world.org/MPA/) is protected under the 
Croatian Law on nature protection as Special Zoological Reserve for 
bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and as such is subject to the 
strictest type of protection regime. Initially, the area receives 
“preventive protection” with protection from the development of any new 
human activities, for a maximum of three years. This will allow the 
establishment of a management body and the preparation of a management 
plan for the permanent Reserve. After this period the designation will 
become permanent through a Decree of the Government. The Lošinj Dolphin 
Reserve represents the first MPA dedicated specifically for the 
protection of one dolphin population in the Mediterranean. It is the 
biggest marine protected area in the entire Adriatic, totalling 526 
square kilometres.

Together with bottlenose dolphins, this Reserve will help conserve a 
number of other endangered and protected species of flora and fauna and 
their critical habitats found within the designated area. For example, 
wintering sites of loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta), sea grass 
(Posidonia oceanica) beds, coral biocenoses and nesting sites of the 
common European Shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis). Moreover, recent 
research identified 152 species of marine flora, 303 species of marine 
invertebrates (7 strictly protected, 9 protected) and 112 species of 
fish (19 endangered species in Croatia) within the area. This area is 
known also for important underwater archaeological sites particularly 
the site where the Greek bronze statue, a priceless replica of Lizip’s 
Apoksymenos, was discovered.

The designation of this Reserve was based on the findings of a set of 
focused research projects carried out by Blue World Institute on 
critical factors affecting distribution and abundance of bottlenose 
dolphins in this area over the last 12 years, and the local 
socio-economic impact of this designation. These studies are contained 
in two PhD thesis carried out in cooperation with the Sea Mammal 
Research Unit, University of St Andrews (UK), University College London 
(UK) and Tethys (Italy). These academic theses represent a growing trend 
in combining academia with policy implementation and were fundamental in 
stimulating the development of the reserve. This designation represents 
one of the few examples of how policy makers and researchers can 
effectively work together toward a common goal.


For more details, please contact:
Drasko Holcer, president
Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation,
Kastel 24, HR-51551 Veli Losinj, Croatia,
Drasko.Holcer at blue-world.org
or visit:
www.blue-world.org

-- 
Draško Holcer, president
Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation
Kaštel 24, HR-51551 Veli Lošinj, Croatia
tel +385 51 604666 fax +385 51 604668 mbl +385 91 4637424
Internet: www.blue-world.org  e-mail Drasko.Holcer at blue-world.org



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