Ecological anchor systems for nautical tourism and the protection of natural heritage (Croatia)

On 16th of July 2021, 18 anchor systems for the mooring of vessels (buoys) were set up in the Kornati National Park, pilot INHERITURA area of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport (Croatia). Anchor systems were financed by the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency and the Public Institution Kornati National park.

As part of the activity 4.5 “Pilot testing for the development of complementary sustainable tourism activities”, of the INHERIT project, small thematic and infrastructural investments are envisaged. Those investments will allow tourists to visit by boat key attractions for sustainable tourism within maritime INHERITURA areas in the context of sustainable tourism activities, thereby testing their popularity.

For this cause, apart from the diving equipment, 18 anchor systems for the mooring of vessels were bought (EPEEF and Kornati National Park Public Institution). Given the fact that the sea is the key resource for tourism development, especially nautical tourism, its development must be sustainably managed in order to preserve the high quality of the sea, preservation of the coast, that is, the entire underwater ecosystem, especially Posidonia.

Posidonia is a really important link in the marine ecosystem as they enrich the sea with oxygen, and are to be thanked for the clarity of the sea and mitigating the onslaught of waves on the shore using their long leaves, thus preventing soil erosion while their web of roots solidifies the sediment, thus preventing its removal. It is most endangered due to human activities, such as anchoring, marine pollution etc.

By setting up buoys, aka anchor systems for the mooring of vessels, the safety of sailing and the seabed condition become much better (if anchors get thrown onto the seabed, they destroy its biocoenosis, but also the sediment, which serves as a habitat to many useful organisms, primarily Posidonia settlements, which have been recognised as one of the priority habitats to be preserved as part of the Natura 2000 network), the capacity and distribution of the park´s visitors becomes defined, waste is reduced – because if there is no infrastructure, visitors take that as non-existence of rules of behaviour, both in the Kornati National Park and in the whole Mediterranean.

In Croatia, Posidonia is a strictly protected species – by the Nature Protection Law, while the European Union protects it through the Council Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. Indirect natural tourism resources are not touristically valorised enough, but they significantly affect the entire tourist experience of the destination, which is why it is necessary to determine measures for their arrangement, preservation and improvement. The event was attended by Maja Feketić, head of the sector for EU funds, Vesna Cetin Krnjević, head of department for support to final beneficiaries in project implementation and Ivana Žunić Vrbanek, project manager from the Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, Šime Ježina, director of the Kornati National Park Public Institution; Željana Šikić, director of the Šibenik-Knin County Tourist Board, and Ana Marija Vukčević, head of the INHERIT Project from the Ministry of Tourism and Sport (Croatia).

Two articles can be read here and here.