Mediterranean monk seal on Kamenjak

For centuries the Mediterranean monk seal have inhabited the entire coast of the Mediterranean, and even parts of the Atlantic coast. In the Adriatic Sea they can be found from Istria to Dalamatia as well as further south. People have hunted monk seal since forever, but until the end of the 19th century that is early 20th century, the hunting was not very intensive and the Mediterranean monk seal somehow managed to survive. Monk seal feed on fish, octopus, squid and crab, the same food that people hunt for their needs, and suddenly in all the vastness of the sea there was no more room for two: people started to consider monk seal as a threat, as competition in the struggle for food and marked them as monsters that tear apart fisherman′s nets. It is believed that today 20 monk seals continuously inhabit our sea and the total population is only about several hundred specimens.

Mediterranean monk seal on Kamenjak

Mediterranean monk seal on Kamenjak

Mediterranean monk seal on Kamenjak

A torn fishing has became more important than the life of a living being: fisherman started killing monk seals wherever and whenever they used to enter their caves and kill they pups. Along with merciless hunting, marine pollution and coastal urbanisation have became big problem for monk seal since they need quiet caves and shores inaccessible to man breed and norture their young. Such locations have became rare and monk seals have begun to disappear from our sea.

In 1935 based on the decision of the maritime directorate in Split, the Mediterranean monk seal was officially protected. Despite the protections awards were still being given for each killed monk seal, so in 1964 the last specimen of the Mediterranean monk seal on the Croatian side of the Adriatic Sea was killed. Since then, monk seals were listed in the Red Book as an extinct species and it was considered that there were no monk seal left in the Adriatic Sea. However, since 2003 the reports of the monk seal being seen along the Croatian coast of the Adriatic Sea have been increasing. From 2009 to 2012 monk seals were being frequently seen on Kamenjak, especially near the caves (Kolombarica beach). It was a big surprise because Kamenjak is not isolated, especially in the summerwhen its crowded with tourist and monk seals are almost always exposed to human contact.

 

It is believed that today 20 monk seals continuously inhabit our sea and the total population is only about several hundred specimens.

 

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Fines for killing and harassment: The fine killing and harrasing a Mediterranean monk seal is HRK 100,000.00.

Shouting, throwing objects and food at the monk seal, swimming towards it or approaching it with a boat, disturbing it while lying on the shore, all these are classified as harassment.

 

Anyone who sees a monk seal should report it to the Mediterranean Monk Seal Asscociation (GSM: 098 351 254, email: jasna.antolovic@pu.t-com.hr) and the Public Institution of Kamenjak (phone: 052/576-513, GSM: 099/242 4073, email: ju.kamenjak@pu.t-com.hr), which gather the information and deliver it to the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection and the State Institute for Nature Protection.

 

 

More videos of the Mediterranean Monk Seal

Photo credits: Plavi Svijet, RegionalExpress, Glas Istre

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Cape Kamenjak

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44.768396253954, 13.91172504425

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