Due to the outbreak of a deadly infection that has affected the population of the noble pen shell (Pinna nobilis) throughout the Mediterranean, including the Adriatic Sea, Croatia’s Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development are calling on the public to report locations where live specimens of noble pen shells are observed.
The aim of the ‘Have you seen them’ action carried out by the Institute for Environmental Protection and Nature is to identify and preserve living noble pen shells in nature and monitor the condition of its population, which is currently at high risk of extinction throughout the Mediterranean, the ministry said on Friday.
Since the first outbreak and mass death in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea, 17 living noble pen shells, also known as the Mediterranean Fan Mussel, in nature have been confirmed, in various locations along the Adriatic.
“The number of living specimens in the sea is decreasing, so it is crucial for the survival of the species to find potentially resistant specimens that could further reproduce and create natural immunity,” the Ministry pointed out.
When identifying living specimens of noble pen shells in nature, it should be checked whether it closes by closing the shell to an external stimulus, ie to the movement of sea water in its immediate vicinity. Namely, the upright shell of the noble pen shell in the sediment does not necessarily imply a living specimen.
The noble pen shell is a strictly protected species, so it must not be touched, and any intentional extraction of living or dead specimens (empty shells) is prohibited.
The project “Preservation of noble pen shells in the Adriatic Sea”, whose implementation is coordinated by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, is implemented through three sub-projects, co-financed by the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency.