Scubadiving and environmental protection around the croatian island Vis – UNESCO Geopark Vis

The Croatian island of Vis is located about 30 nautical miles southwest of Split in the eastern Adriatic between Croatia and Italy. It belongs to the Split-Dalmatia region and with a length of about 17 km and a width of about 8 km is about 90 km². Vis has about 3,500 inhabitants. The island is hilly with Mount Hum as the highest peak with 587m.

In socialist Yugoslavia Vis was closed to visitors because of its strategic location until 1989. Also as a result of this isolation Vis has untouched nature, organic farming and the preserved typical architecture. The fishermen of Komiza were known in the past centuries in many Mediterranean ports as real connoisseurs of their profession. Winegrowing also has a long tradition. The unique crystal blue sea, beautiful hidden coves and islets and friendly hosts characterize the island as well. Vis is now one of the most popular destinations in the Mediterranean. In October 2017, the second part of the movie Mama Mia was shot on Vis. The church with graveyard on the contemplative peninsula in front of the town of Vis was also a filming location of the crime novel “Murder on Vis”.

Visible with crystal-clear water, beautiful cliffs with purple Gorgonien, impressive caves and numerous ship and airplane wrecks around the island. Vis is now one of the diving hotspots in Europe and is particularly interesting for Tech-Diver. Even the easily accessible dive sites Volici and Krava in front of the harbor entrance from the main town of Vis promise beautiful cliffs and in no way allow boredom to arise.

The area around the Vis Archipelago also has a turbulent geological history. So geological changes have caused the islands Jabuka, Brusnik, Bisevo and Palagruza. The seven areas in the archipelago are also protected by the Croatian Nature Conservation Act. In the archipelago there are many natural geological monuments such as the Blue Cave, the cave Medvedina and the cave on the island of Ravnik.

At the request of the Croatian Ministry of Environmental Protection and Energy, a test procedure for the recognition of the Vis archipelago as a UNESCO Global Geopark was underway. Since April 2019 the archipelago is part of the UNESCO Global Geoparks.

The dive center ANMA is located at the small peninsula with church in front of the village Vis. ANMA is involved in a variety of marine and environmental protection. The owner Zvonko Nad used to be a marine diver. His son, co-owner and also Instructor Antonio Nad has studied archeology. Anma regularly conducts expeditions with the Croatian Archaeological Institute -Hrvatski restauratorski zavod-. During an expedition in 2013, a ship from the 19th century was discovered near the port of Vis. This was involved in the Battle of Vis in 1811 between the English and French. Two more expeditions including one in September 2018 led to the area around the island of Palag-ruza. It found a wreck with amphorae with olive seeds, pure lead ingots, stamps and other relics from earlier times.

As a “nature conservation scout” Antonio also regularly meets other dive and dive safari boats at the relevant dive sites with his dive boat ANMA, in order to ensure compliance with the regulations regarding environmental and marine protection during the dives.

ANMA is also mandated by the Croatian authorities to prevent underwater damage to oversee, maintain and, if necessary, repair the anchorages for ships with associated cable work. Beside the port of Vis, the areas controlled by ANMA include, among others, the well-known Stiniva beach section in the south of Vis, framed by impressively high rocks, and the Green Cave.

As an SSI and PADI diving school, ANMA represents the appropriate ethical principles of environmental and marine protection. For example, the crew of ANMA also participates in the general government-organized port and sea cleanings.

Dr. Petra and Dr. Marc Hoferer and Stephan Ludwig have been visiting the island of Vis regularly for about 20 years. They too succumbed to the charm of Vis and have to come back periodically to this island. They are regularly diving with ANMA. Stephan is PADI MSDT and Emergency First Response Instructor. He is also an Instructor for Underwater Naturalist and the Environmental and Marine Protection Program Project Aware in conjunction with relevant specialist training. “In real life” and with an education on administration and law affairs he works with the veterinary authority of the District Göppingen and the Bundesland Baden-Württemberg in Germany. He is -among other things- also responsible for the implementation and exevutive measures about animal welfare and food safety. In this context, he is also active as the team leader law affairs with the Academy of Veterinary and Food Safety Affairs Baden-Württemberg and as tutor with the EU initiative Better Training for Safer Foods in different countries. Dr. Petra and Dr. Marc Hoferer are veterinarians and thus already ethically linked to animal and environmental protection. Marc is also a VDST Instructor. Together, the three plan to work even more closely together with ANMA on environmental and marine protection. On the one hand, this should be done through the teaching of basic biology knowledge in the scope of the diving courses and above all the diving excursions. On the other hand, attention should also be paid to the biological characteristics of the individual diving spots and their specific changes due to environmental influences.

Author and pictures – Stephan Ludwig /

Published by scubaviste

Scubadiving instructor / Photographer / Running coach / Lecturer, training coordinator and team manager for food safety and veterinary affairs / Auditor / Author

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