Mammals in Adriatic sea



All marine mammals which live in the Adriatic Sea or only visit it at times are protected by Croatian laws and international agreements. They are endangered due to human influence on their habitats, pollution, over fishing and tourism.

Any deliberate disturbing, catching, keeping, injuring or killing of marine mammals in the Adriatic Sea is a criminal offence punishable by Croatian laws with very high penalties and indemnities.

The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus) – STRICTLY PROTECTED

It’s on the Red List of Threatened Species of the Adriatic. The monk seal is the only seal species in the Mediterranean Sea and the fishermen in the Adriatic Sea used to call it morski covik (meaning seaman). It was persecuted for centuries because and almost exterminated because it destroyed fishermen’s nets.

The Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus)

It was less and less seen in the Adriatic and everybody thought it became extinct in the Adriatic. Once it inhabited shores and secluded caves of the Adriatic islands and in recent years people started seeing it again in the waters around Cape Kamenjak in Istria and Cres-Losinj archipelago. This gives us hope that it will once again become a permanent resident of the Adriatic Sea.

What to do if you see a monk seal?

  • do not come closer than 50 meters
  • do not disturb it in any way
  • if you are in a boat, wait until the animal moves further
  • do not visit places known or assumed to be its habitat

You can also help:

  • if you inform the Mediterranean monk seal Group of seeing the animal; it is also good to take a photo of the animal and observe it
  • if you report any deliberate disturbance of monk seals at the phone number 112

Also, do not forget to enjoy that rare and unique experience!

The penalty for catching a monk seal

  • 100 000 kn.

Bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncates) – STRICTLY PROTECTED

It’s on the Red List of Threatened Species of the Adriatic. Not so recently, it was considered a pest destroying fishermen’s nets and that’s why they were killed deliberately. So, the common dolphin (Delphinus delphis) almost completely disappeared from the Adriatic, formerly also a permanent resident of the Adriatic. Today, the only marine mammal which lives and breeds in the Adriatic Sea is the common dolphin.

We can find them almost anywhere in the Adriatic but the best known habitat of the common dolphin is around the islands of Losinj and Cres. According to fishermen and sailors there is also a possibility that they permanently inhabit the areas around Istria, Kornati, Hvar and Vis.


Obey the rules of behaviour near dolphins!

Seeing dolphins or whales at sea is really special. If we do not want to disturb them we should  follow the simple rules that can be found on the website of the Association Blue World (Plavi Svijet).

  • approach them very slowly and cautiously
  • turn off the engine in the vicinity of a dolphin
  • don’t make noises with the engine because this might alarm the dolphins
  • ensure that no more than one boat is within 100 metres from the dolphins, or three boats within 200 m
  • don’t stay with the dolphins for more than 30 minutes
  • for your safety and theirs avoid diving or swimming with them, never offer them food or try to touch them

You can also help:

  • if you report any deliberate disturbing of the dolphins at number 112
  • if you report seeing a dead or injured animal at 112 or to the Association Blue World in order to be able to help

Penalties for catching:

  • a common dolphin – 40 000 kn
  • a bottlenose dolphin – 35 000 kn
  • all other types of whales in the Adriatic – 40 000 kn


They are on the Red List of Threatened Species of the Adriatic. There are three species of sea turtle in the Adriatic: loggerhead sea turtle, green turtle and leatherback turtle. They are very rare and therefore strictly protected. The loggerhead sea turtle is considered an endangered species, while the green turtle is considered a critically endangered species.

kupanjeskornjacom kornjaca

The most common sea turtle in the Adriatic is the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). Turtles live in the sea and lay their eggs on the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean, rarely of the Adriatic. Thousands of sea turtles get caught every year in fishing nets and many die due to ingested plastic bags that they easily mistake for jellyfish they eat.

Nevertheless, the greatest enemy of these “silent sailors” is tourism which has endangered their habitats and breeding sites due to waste pollution, noise and light that disorients them.

You can also help:

  • if you report seeing an injured sea turtle at number 112 or to the Centers for Marine turtles rescue
  • if you report any deliberate turtle disturbing at 112

Penalties for catching:

  • leatherback turtle – 40 000
  • loggerhead turtle – 35 000 kn
  • green turtle – 40 000

CopyrightThis text is protected by Copyright. Without the express written consent of the copyright holders reproduction; distribution, modification, re-transmission or publication of the Copyrighted material is strictly prohibited and it constitutes as a crime according to the Criminal Law of the Republic of Croatia, as well as it is the foundation for the process of compensation in accordance with applicable regulations of the Croatian Law.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2017 Ultra Sailing blog – guide for sailing in Croatia. All Rights Reserved Ultra Sailing. Designed by Dencro d.o.o.