How to become an ambassador and Posidonia keeper

In July 2021, the campaign “Become a Posidonia Keeper” was launched, which aims to raise public awareness, especially sailors, about the importance of protecting and preserving sea flowers, with a special emphasis on Posidonia. Also, our goal is to bring the importance and purpose of environmentally friendly anchoring closer to boaters and encourage them to think about such anchoring, and introduce them to the anchorage locations. Through the campaign, the intention is to create a network of socially responsible companies and enterprises that will, as Ambassadors of Posidonia, help achieve the goal and create a network of sailors of the Posidonia Guardians who directly help protect seagrass with their behavior and actions.

Figure 1. Posidonia ocenica

Posidonia oceanica, an endemic species of the Mediterranean Sea, is a seagrass whose meadows make it one of the most important habitats in the sea. It was named after the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, while it is locally known as lažina, voga, purola, or purić. It is often mistaken for algae. The stem of Posidonia grows 1 cm per year, and it takes a century to develop a colony. Some Posidonia meadows are over a thousand years old and it is one of the longest-lived organisms in the sea.

Figure 2. The treasury of life

Posidonia, the source of life, a witness to maritime history, and a precondition for the future, is under increasing negative pressure. Man is destroying its meadows by filling in shores, concreting, building ports and marinas, discharging wastewater, fish and shellfish farms, and using certain fishing tools. Yet the greatest threat to the survival of Posidonia is anchoring. Until the anchor is caught, it retreats along the seabed and plows the Posidonia. After the anchor is attached to the bottom, the anchor chain is pulled along the bottom and the Posidonia is cut. When the anchor is pulled out, new plowing takes place and thus the Posidonia meadow is destroyed.

To this end, the INTERREG Italy-Croatia SASPAS project established a monitoring meadows campaign that collects annual monitoring data, sets up environmentally friendly anchoring systems (anchorages and simple signal buoys), transplantation of seagrass, and establishes an integrated management system for seagrasses in the Adriatic area (GIS Digital Information Platform (DIP)) as well as the development of proposals for the Integrated Management Program for the Protection of Sea Flowers (MSSIMP).

Figure 3. NP Kornati

In July 2021, a total of 58 environmentally friendly anchoring buoys were installed within the Kornati National Park, of which 40 were installed as part of the SASPAS project. Such anchorages have been set up in five bays: Kravljačica, Strižnja, Šipnate, Tomasovac – Suha punta and Vrulje. The anchor system, ie buoys, are not installed in the usual way – by tying to concrete blocks, but by drilling the rocky bottom and installing a kind of “anchor” that remains buried in the well without significant damage to the seabed.

Figure 6. Posidonia Keeper

If you want to become a Posidonia Keeper, just follow a few simple tips:

  • find an installation of environmentally friendly anchorage systems – simple signal buoys for your boat.
  • some areas have control nautical support for Posidonia that you can call via radio to find a suitable anchorage.
  • explore on your own all the beauties of the sea flower – Posidonia and find out how much life is hidden in its meadows.
  • come to the site earlier in the day to see where you can anchor, look for white sandy parts. The anchor and chain should be in the sand.
  • anchor on ecological buoys. In the Kornati National Park, they are located in the bays: Strižnja, Kravljačica, Šipnate, Tomasovac-Suha Punta and Vrulje.
  • check maps, satellite images, and user-generated information on navigation systems to identify areas and contours of white sand, an area without Posidonia.
  • spread the word among sailors, sailors, and fishermen. Not everyone is aware of the importance of Posidonia!
  • post a photo on social media and tag @SASPAS or send us a photo. Use #SASPAS in the description.