Mitigating unsustainable fishery and patenting selective fish trap


To restore habitats and mitigate direct threats to the Balkan Terrapin population in Croatia, we are collaborating with fishermen and experts to design, manufacture, and test a new type of fishing net.This net is specifically aimed at reducing the accidental capture of Balkan Terrapins and other freshwater turtle species.

We have developed two modifications to the net's openings that effectively prevent turtles from entering. Prototypes have been created and are currently undergoing field testing to address the issue of turtle mortality during fishing activities.



The testing of these two modifications for the new fishing net will be conducted throughout the entire project area in three phases (spring, summer, and autumn). This includes the lakes of the Zoo, which are home to red-eared sliders and yellow-bellied sliders, Lake Savica, where our native European pond turtle resides, and various water bodies in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, where we will verify the safety of the design for our target species.

In addition to the safety tests for turtles, which will commence in spring 2023, we also have plans to conduct tests on fish. These tests aim to ensure that the new modifications maintain the fishing efficiency of these tools during the fishing season.

Each turtle species exhibits different habits and behaviors, so it is crucial to demonstrate the effectiveness of the design for all our freshwater species. It's important to note that turtles breathe with their lungs, and if they become trapped in the nets, they are unable to reach the surface to breathe.

While not a permanent or sustainable solution, the problem can be mitigated by performing daily checks and lifting the nets out of the water. If turtles are accidentally caught in the nets, they should be released. Native species should be returned to the water body where they were found, while invasive turtle species should not be released back into natural habitats. It is advisable to contact the relevant institutions to ensure proper care for invasive alien turtles. To assist in distinguishing between invasive and native species, you can refer to the following link for guidance:

Invasive turtle species in Croatia

If you observe or accidentally capture an invasive turtle species, you can contact the following addresses:

  • Zagreb Zoo: Phone number +385 1 2302 198, Email:
  • Public Institution for the Management of Protected Nature Areas of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County: Phone number +385 20 411 533, Email:
  • Hyla Association: Phone number +385 1 2348 279, Email:
  • Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. Institute for Environmental Protection and Nature: Phone number +385 1 5502 900, Email:
  • You can also connect with the LIFE for Mauremys project on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.




Date of publication: 27 of June 2023


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