October 22, 2019 - Although in recent years we have looked forward to new fields of Pinna Nobilis across the Boka Bay, it seems that the problem that has engulfed most of the Mediterranean has also arrived in our aquatics. The Haplosporidia Pinne parasite is threatening to destroy the population of the endemic Pinna Nobilis, the largest Mediterranean shell.
"Unfortunately, this year, the problem has come to us. It is a type of parasite from the protozoan group; the name of the species is Haplosporidia Pinne. It attacks Pinna Nobilis, and in most cases, mortality is over 90 percent. Not much can be done so far; we are looking at whether there are still surviving individuals," Martinovic regrets.
The parasite-destroying parasite is spreading very quickly; in just three years, it has invaded the entire Mediterranean. Scientists are working to determine if something can still be done, marine ecologists from the Mediterranean countries are involved in this effort, and Montenegro is included in all projects on the survival of Pinna Nobilis through the Institute of Marine Biology.
Three years ago, just at the time when the massive Pinna Nobilis pestilence began and without knowing it was about to happen, with the support of the Prince Albert of Monaco Foundation, the Institute of Marine Biology started the project to explore the possibility of Pinna Nobilis reproduction in the Boka aquatics. The project was officially completed in July this year.
"The project took three years. We have done comprehensive research, we have studied it from various aspects. We even managed to breed a few dozen young singles, which reached a size of about 25 centimeters in a year and a half, and these individuals are still alive. Also, at that point, we counted the number and density of the population of the Pinna Nobilis. However, today, the situation is entirely different. In some localities like Holy Sunday in the Bay of Tivat, we had a very high density, hundreds of individuals. Unfortunately, to date, very few have survived."
The Haplosporidia Pine parasite responds to warm seas, intensely expanding during the summer months. This year, the mortality of Pinna Nobilis is very pronounced. There are still live populations in the Bay of Kotor, Martinovic points out, adding: "We will see what happens next summer. It is considered that if a parasite emerges and the population survives two summers or two seasons, there is a good chance that it will continue to live."
Cooperation with Monaco should continue. The Institute will apply to a new project to continue to operate in the field and share experiences with colleagues from other Mediterranean countries in a joint effort to prevent the complete disappearance of the biggest shell of the Mediterranean, the endemic species Pinna Nobilis.