Fisheries in Croatia in numbers
The fishery and mariculture sector in Croatia accounts for a relatively small portion of the national Gross Value Added (GVA) – an average of 0.25% or around EUR 56 million in 2003 and 2004. However, it is culturally important and provides many economic opportunities in areas where these opportunities are limited (2).
In the previous 10-20 years, warm-water fish species have been moving northward and many new species in the
northern parts of the Adriatic Sea have been recorded over the last thirty years (2).
Climate change-related warming may have the following implications for the Croatian fishing sector (1):
- Temperature increases will enhance the risk of oxygen level decrease and result in fish depletion in shallow areas of the Adriatic. This situation will create conditions that allow the increase of species that tolerate warm water and lower oxygen levels;
- Due to faster biological processes at all levels of marine ecosystems, the growth rate of fish should be higher and reproduction seasons should be longer for most species. As a result, the recruitment of species that thrive in warm water should be significantly better;
- The opposite is likely to occur with species that thrive in cold water, such as prawn. These species will migrate to colder areas, either horizontally (moving north, south, east or west) or vertically (moving to deeper levels);
- The introduction of new organisms that transmit disease or exotic or undesired species is likely to occur due to increased sea temperatures.
Tuna is the most important economic product within the fishery and mariculture sector and is a warm-water species. As such, tuna farming in the Eastern Adriatic will probably benefit from climate change. The situation with two other species – sea bass and the european oyster – is however different, as they generally prefer colder water (2).
The arrival of new species in the Adriatic Sea has resulted in both positive and negative impacts economically. However, it is highly troubling from an environmental standpoint, as the indigenous species are now under significant threat. Two potentially poisonous fish species have also been recorded in the Adriatic Sea – the oceanic puffer fish and the blunthead puffer fish (2).
Adaptation strategies Croatia
The available technological options for adaptation can be found in neighbouring countries already affected by warmer climates – especially Turkey and Greece. Their experiences in mariculture management and fishing techniques – specifically regarding invasive species – should be applied to local conditions. Their experiences in culturing sea bass and sea bream under warmer conditions should be used to prevent similar problems occurring in Croatia’s mariculture of these two species (2).
The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Croatia.
- Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Physical Planning (2010)
- UNDP (2008)