The Maloston Bay (Malostonski zaljev in Croatian) is located at the end of the Neretva Channel on the Croatian coast of the Adriatic Sea. The river Neretva flows into it. It separates the Pelješac peninsula from the Croatian mainland. The corridor of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the town of Neum also extends into the Maloston Bay.
The bay is 28 km long and 6.1 km wide at its widest point. Due to the various number of peninsulas and islands, the length of the shoreline of the Maloston Bay is around 100 km. There are several other smaller bays in the bay itself, including, for example, the Neum bay (which separates the Klek peninsula from the rest of the Maloston Bay), Uvala Bistrina, Uvala Kuta, Uvala Miševac and Uvala Sige.
The highest depth of the sea here is 29 m, most of the bay is only about twenty meters deep. Due to the mouth of the Neretva River, the water salinity here is lower; its rate changes in connection with the amount of water that flows from the Neretva River and other nearby rivers. The influence of fresh water on the behavior of water in the bay decreases with distance from the open sea.
On the north-western side, the end of the bay is bounded by the line between the villages of Sreser and Duba Stonska, on the south-east the bay stretches to the village of Mali Ston, after which it got its name. There are several islands in the bay, Goljak, Srednjak, Galičak, Dubovac, Lovorikovac, Pučenjak, Geravac, Tajan, Maslinovac, Gubavac, Kokošar and Klještac.
There are a number of villages around the bay. The only towns on the gulf shore are Neum and Ston. The maritime border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina also passes through the bay. The demarcation of this border was the subject of a dispute between the two states in the 1990s.
The climate of the bay is Mediterranean. There are mild winters and dry summers. During the rainy months, the amount of precipitation here is three times higher than during the dry months. During these, no more than 40 mm of water will rain here per month. The total annual precipitation here is 1316 mm. The wind blows mostly from the north, northeast and northwest. The sea temperature varies (at Neum) from 13 °C in January to 28 °C in July and August.
Oysters have been farmed in the bay since the days of the Roman Empire. Their breeding is documented by written documents, but only from the 16th and 17th centuries. The Mediterranean mussel is also bred here. The calm and shallow sea here created conditions for one of the best places for their breeding in the territory of Croatia. In the 1980s, the bay here produced around two million oysters and 3,000 tons of mussels, which represented around 60% of Croatian production. During the Croatian War of Independence, oyster farming facilities were extensively damaged.
Currently, the bay has been protected since 1983 as a nature reserve. 4,821 ha of water area are under protection.
On the western part, the bay is to be bridged by the so-called Pelješac Bridge. Today, there is a ferry between the villages of Trpanj and Ploče in a similar direction.
This article used translations of texts from the articles Malostonski zaljev on the Croatian Wikipedia and Bay of Mali Ston on the English Wikipedia.
Images, sounds and videos about Maloston Bay at Wikimedia Commons