It is quite amazing that the Adriatic Dolphin Project is running for 30 years and we are proud to have been able to establish quite a few other professional programmes in education, science, and conservation since the formal launch of the Blue World Institute in 1999. Through our work, we are providing a unique role in the region, a long-term vision for protection of iconic marine species and of the environment as a whole. Our work is making a palpable and measurable impact; here are some of the milestones in an ongoing task that will never really be finished:

●In 2002, we submitted to the Government of Croatia a proposal for the establishment of a protected area for bottlenose dolphins in Kvarnerić area (northern Adriatic), which in 2006 became the first Bottlenose Dolphin Reserve in the Mediterranean Sea;

●In 2003, we opened the first Marine Education Centre in the Adriatic visited by more than 100,000 people;

●In 2010, we organised the first Adriatic-wide aerial survey of abundance and distribution of large marine vertebrates setting the baseline data for all future monitoring programmes in the Adriatic Sea;

●In 2012, the President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr Ivo Josipović inaugurated our Sea Turtle Rescue Centre which enables the rehabilitation and recovery of injured animals every year;

●In 2013, we organised the second Adriatic-wide aerial survey of abundance and distribution of large marine vertebrates which provided new and additional data needed for development of the Atlas of species distribution and Adriatic-wide strategies for conservation of cetaceans and sea turtles;

●In 2016, we began the long process of development of the Marine Science Museum, a 21st century facility aimed at interdisciplinary marine conservation and education;

●We placed marine conservation of the Adriatic on the public agenda through 134 TV appearances (Croatia, Italy, Montenegro, Germany, UK, USA, Japan), 248 radio interviews and 496 newspaper and magazine articles.

 Awards and recognition of our work:

●Blue World Institute received recognition from the former President of the Republic of Croatia, Dr Ivo Josipović (2014) and the former President of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. Stjepan Mesić (2004); [link]

●BWI won UN World Summit on the Information Society Award for best website in category “Science and Technology” in Croatia and as overall winner (2003);

●BWI’s natural-history documentary film “The Open Sea”, produced in cooperation with the Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries from Split and the Croatian Natural History Museum, was aired as part of the “A Category” in the official competition of the “37th World Festival of Underwater Pictures” in Marseille, France in 2010. It has been awarded by the “Prix del’Institut oceanographique – Fondation Albert 1er, Prince de Monaco”. The documentary film was later obtained by the croatian television and repeatedly broadcasted;

●The Tourist Board of Mali Lošinj was presented with the “International Premio Turismo – Responsabile Italiano 2009 – 2010” award in the competition of the tourism trade magazine “L’ Agenzia di Viaggi” in category “Regional Tourist Office” owing primarily to the research and conservation activities of BWI in Veli Lošinj, specifically due to: the development of the first Mediterranean Dolphin Reserve, organising the annual Dolphin Day, and the “Adopt a dolphin” programme;

●The BWI was awarded a special “CBTour – Innovations in Business Tourism 2013” award by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Union for Energetics and the Croatian Ministry of Tourism for the plan and design of the Marine Science Museum;

●The BWI’s Lošinj Marine Education Centre received a special recognition in 2013 from the Tourist Board of Lošinj for outstanding service to visitors based on evaluation from “secret visitor”;

●The BWI won an award in the category “Sustainable Tourism” for advancing sustainability through environmental protection during “Days if Tourism in Croatia” in 2015. The award was presented by Mr. Gordan Maras, the minister for Entrepreneurship and Crafts.

Awards and recognition:

In Conservation

●Proposed and aided in the establishment of the first Dolphin Reserve in the Mediterranean which became the Cres-Lošinj Site of Community Importance of the EU Natura 2000 network in 2014;

●Results of our research were pivotal in identifying and proposing other marine areas of EU Community Importance for bottlenose dolphins and resulted in the development of another five Natura 2000 network sites for this species in Croatia;

●Our submissions to the European Commission on the sufficiency of Natura 2000 network in the Adriatic and the need to organise conservation of cetaceans and sea turtles in the offshore waters have been accepted and member states (Croatia, Italy, and Slovenia) have been officially contacted to identify and propose new areas of conservation in the high seas;

●The Blue World Institute strongly opposed prospecting for hydrocarbons in the Adriatic using seismic survey organised contrary to the law and without environmental impact assessment, mitigation or monitoring. The Blue World Institute tracked the activities of survey vessel and successfully lobbied – based on international agreements – with Croatian, EU, and international authorities to prevent such actions in the future. Consequently, the Croatian government commissioned a Strategic Impact Assessment and issued binding rules for the seismic survey monitoring and mitigation;

●Participation in the development of the conservation plan for cetaceans of the Adriatic and conservation plan for sea turtles in the Adriatic through the NETCET project which have been adopted by the relevant authorities of the governments of the countries surrounding the Adriatic Sea;

●Provided consultation to national authorities in the Adriatic and to international agreements (ACCOBAMS; RAC/SPA) on marine habitats and species conservation to ensure international commitments are met; currently advising on the development of national guidelines to mitigate high-intensity noise in the marine environment;

●The report made by the Blue World Institute to RAC/SPA transformed the Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) network proposal for the Adriatic leading to identification of three new sites being drafted and accepted by the 12 Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Decision XII/22 Marine and coastal biodiversity: ecologically or biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs);

●Development of the national large marine vertebrates monitoring plan for the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, adopted by the Government of Croatia;

●Organised successful international policy meetings for the ACCOBAMS Bureau, EU funded MarCons COST Action and UNEP Marine Protected Area Governance Project;

●Provided support to the successful campaign to prevent the opening of a dolphinarium in Croatia – which subsequently led to the law being amended to prevent such development in the future;

●Provided support to prevent of the opening of a dolphinarium in Montenegro through advising the government and local scientists;

●Developed dolphin watching code of conduct accepted as an industry standard by the Ministry of Nature Protection in Croatia;

●Between 2007 and 2016, we rescued 22 sea turtles which were safely returned to sea.

In Science

●The Blue World Institute has successfully sustained and expanded the range and scope of the Adriatic Dolphin Project making it the longest ongoing research of one resident coastal dolphin community in Europe, lasting over 30 years;

●386 eco-volunteers participated in our programme between 2002 and 2017: 345 in Lošinj, 22 in North Dalmatia, and 10 in Vis;

●51 students from 9 countries – Croatia, Italy, Germany, UK, US, Slovenia, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Finland and Ireland – completed their studies with us: 6 doctoral theses, 26 masters theses, and 10 bachelor degrees;

●We hosted more than 386 eco-volunteers who participated in scientific data gathering and management, contributing primarily to the Adriatic Dolphin Project;

●Since 2000, our research has led to more than 65 scientific publications (journal papers, book articles etc.) published internationally [Resources] and we participated in 35 conferences since 2008;

●Supported and enabled successful implementation of cetacean research programmes in Montenegro, Italy, Albania and Croatia;

●Recognised experts: the Blue World Institute staff are members of international scientific bodies including ACCOBAMS Scientific Committee, MSFD Noise Working Group, International Whaling Commission and Mediterranean Science Commission.

In Education

●Our education programme has been approved for use in national primary school curriculum; it is introduced to nature/biology textbooks and is authorised as part of field course activities by the Croatian teacher training agency;

●Over 1100 school groups participated in the Blue World Institute education activities and in Lošinj Marine Education Centre since 2003; the total visitation of organised school groups is almost 43,000 children;

●Trained dozens of researchers from Europe (Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Italy, Slovenia, Greece, UK) and America (US, Canada)  in education methods involved in cetacean research and their application to conservation;

●More than 200 students from around the world trained between 2005 and 2012 in marine conservation through the International School for Conservation Biology;

●More than 400 people from all over the world trained in cetacean research in our volunteering sessions since 2000;

●We have conducted more than 245 professional workshops attended by some 7000 individuals;

●Over 100,000 visitors came to the Lošinj Marine Education Centre in Veli Lošinj since it’s opening in 2003.