Shellfish are one of the most popular seafood delicacies in northwestern Istria. They are caught year-round, but they are most flavourful in February and March, when local restaurants design special menus as part of the Shellfish Days festival. The most prized local shellfish is the scallop, while mussels, oysters, sea truffles, queen scallops and Noah’s arks are also popular.
It is safest to buy shellfish from one of the dozen farms in Istria, which regularly check the quality of the sea water and their shellfish in accordance with Croatia’s laws and regulations. Mussels and oysters are the most popular shellfish in Istria’s farms, while the other shellfish mostly grow in natural habitats on the sandy sea bottom.
Permitted ways of catching shellfish
In Croatia, just like for recreational and sports fishing, a permit is required to catch shellfish, whether from a boat or from the shore. The permitted daily catch of live shellfish must not exceed 2kg, except for mussels, of which up to 5kg is allowed.
Catching shellfish and minimum size
||HOW ARE THEY CAUGHT
(lat. Pecten jacobaeus)
||At greater depths, on silty and sandy sea floors near sea walls and large rocks
Diving, drift nets, or a special fishing tool called a rampon
(lat. Mytilus galloprovincialis)
||They grow in colonies attached to solid surfaces such as rocks, stones, other kinds of shellfish, buoys and boats. They are the most popularly farmed shellfish.
|European flat oyster
(lat. Ostrea edulis)
||In the bays and canals of Istria at depths of up to 10m, attacked to rocks. They are also farmed.
(lat. Venus spp.)
||At depths of 0.5-20m on silty and sandy sea floors.
||Diving, using a special method involving driving a small metal tool into the sea floor.
(lat. Chlamys varia)
||On the silty and sandy sea floors of protected inlets, mostly attached to the bottom.
||Diving, drift nets, or a special fishing tool called a rampon
(lat. Arca noae)
||On silty and sandy sea floors
||Diving, or using a special metal net called a kunjkara