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Date shells/Lithophaga lithophaga

Description of the species:
The date shell is a shellfish which lives along the entire rocky coast at depths from 0 to 20 metres. In rocks, it is distributed in two layers, of which one is on the surface and the other on the inside. By means of acid secretion, it burrows holes into lime rocks and inhabits them. It has an elongated and oval shape with thin shells of yellow-brown or chestnut colour. It takes about 80 years for them to grow to a length of 12 cm.

Reasons for threat:
It is a prized delicacy and due to excessive fishing, its populations have shrunk in certain areas. As it is necessary to break rocks in order to extract this shellfish, collecting them destroys large surfaces of rocky coast, the consequence being the destruction of habitats and reduction of biodiversity.

The species is strictly protected by the Ordinance on designating protected and strictly protected wild species (Official Gazette 7/06 and 99/09). According to the Ordinance on penalties for damage caused by illegal actions against protected animal species (Official Gazette 84/96), the penalty for killing a date shell is 50.00 kuna.

Illegal hunting can be reported on the following phone numbers:

Inspectorate for the Protection of Nature

Istria and Kvarner - HQ in Rijeka, mr. sc. Ivanka Jelenić, senior inspector, tel: +385 (0)51 311302; mob: +385 (0)98 406313
e-mail: ivanka.jelenic@min-kulture.hr

Zadar region- HQ in Zadar, Damir Mitrović, senior inspector,
tel: +385 (0)23 211129; mob: +385 (0)98 406979
e-mail: damir.mitrovic@min-kulture.hr

Šibenik  and Split regions - HQ in Šibenik, Davor Cukrov, senior inspector
tel: +385 (0)22 215800; mob: +385 (0)98 406982
e-mail: davor.cukrov@min-kulture.hr

Dubrovnik region - HQ in Dubrovnik
Vesna Daničić, inspector
tel: +385 (0)20 323191; mob: +385 (0)98 407121
e-mail: vesna.danicic@min-kulture.hr

Source: www.dzzp.hr State Office for the Protection of Nature, Mrs Katja Jelić