Organized by the Public Institution for Management of Protected Areas of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, with the support of the Blue Promotion Agency (Agencije Plava promocija), activities were held this weekend that included an ecological action of cleaning the seabed and educational workshops on diving.
In addition to the local population, who had a unique opportunity to learn about the charms and beauties of diving and marine ecosystem and associated biodiversity, through educational workshops there was also an ecological action of cleaning the seabed. Eco actions were held over two days at four different locations: Hodilje, Mali Ston, Zamaslina and Zaton Doli. Larger quantities of discarded waste were removed from the sea. As in other actions of cleaning the seabed, car tyres, plastic, discarded fishing tools, various small waste, but also waste generated during shellfish farming, were the most dominate type of waste removed.
Mali Ston Bay is an extremely important and valuable protected area that is recognized at the national and European level as it is a protected area in the category of special marine reserve and is a European ecological network Natura 2000. Also, it is home to 16 strictly protected marine species. In addition to its importance in nature protection, Mali Ston Bay is economically important for shellfish, European oysters and mussels.
Due to the exceptional importance of the marine ecosystem for human life, it is important to educate the population about the impact of marine waste on marine biodiversity, fish stocks and shellfish that are our food source, all to preserve protected natural values for future generations and preserve a healthy marine ecosystem.
It is important to emphasize that there is less and less waste in the sea as a result of public awareness of the importance of preserving and protecting the marine ecosystem for human life, said Marijana Miljas Đuračić, director of the Public Institution for Protected Nature Protection of Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
The action of cleaning the seabed was also welcomed by the Association of Ston Shellfish, which is also a partner of the Eco Mali Ston Bay project.
“We always have irresponsible individuals to whom such actions should be a message, this bay has given to so many people through generations that we must protect and care for it in a way that there is no waste in its submarine and coasts. The Bay of Mali Ston should become a model example of sustainable development, and the impeccable cleanliness of the seabed and coast should be our goal and continuity,” said Vedran Kunica, from the Association of Ston Shellfish.
The cleaning of the seabed was also supported by the Municipality of Ston.