Due to its preserved nature and environment, Croatia has an advantage over other developed countries and can produce diverse high quality food safe for the health of the consumers. Zadar County covers very diverse natural areas: islands, coastline and Ravni Kotari, part of Bukovica, southern hillside of Velebit and Lika. Ravni Kotari is the most important part used for agriculture, along with the coast.

Three different geographic and climate areas are present in a relatively small area: plains of the hinterland under the influence of the continental climate, coastal area under the influence of the Mediterranean climate and the mountain area. This enables production of a wide range of agricultural products. Environmental conditions (climate and soil), geographic position, roads and vicinity of the market are favourable for agricultural production.

Competitive advantages of Zadar County


  • Preserved environment and nature
  • High landscape diversity
  • Acceptance of traditional skills and products
  • Development of different systems of agricultural production
  • SME sector in services and production with high job creation potential
  • Good perspective for rural and agro-tourism
  • Structures of local self government have experience in local development planning
  • low costs of working force
  • Croatia signed major international agreements on environment and biodiversity
  • Croatian consumers are traditionally oriented to domestic products


  • Favourable climate
  • Favourable geographic position of the Country in Europe
  • Stable macroeconomic indicators
  • New trends in tourist demand
  • New road and telecommunication network
  • Availability of renewable energy sources

Key Companies

„Vigens“ Ltd. Kožino-Primorje - 4,5-5 million litres of milk (484ha of arable land for production of feedstuffs in lease, and 290ha of other land intended for planting permanent crops)

„Vrana“ Ltd. Jankolovica - total of 872 ha leased, out of which vineyard for production of table grapes 30 ha, olive grove 10 ha, production of vegetables in the open 58 ha, production of vegetables in protected spaces 7,7 ha, other land, production of feedstuffs, production of milk approx 3 mil./lit. annually, 24 mil. eggs annually (100.000 hens), production of sauerkraut 1000 t/annually

„PIK Vinkovci“ p.l.c. Sv. Filip i Jakov - production of vegetables and crop on 200 ha

„Maraska“ Ltd. Zadar - production of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and 212 ha of agricultural land leased, plantation of Maraska cherry.

„Badel 1862“ p.l.c. winery Benkovac - production of alcoholic beverages, 250 ha of agricultural land leased, 130 ha planted wine grapes in Korlati, 70 ha Dubrava (Miranje) and 50 ha Pristeg (clearing for cultivation)

„Paška sirana“ - Pag, production of cheese 700-800 t/annually

„Sirana Gligora“ - Kolan, island Pag, production of cheese 250 t/annually

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Brief History

History of mariculture in Zadar County

Zadar County has a long tradition of marine fish and shellfish farming, as is the case with the whole of Dalmatia. First documented activities of the farming of marine organisms (fish and shellfish) began in the Roman period.

First Dalmatian fish ponds for fish farming date back to the 1st century. Roman landowners, colonialists and deserving veterans frequently embellished their luxurious summerhouses with fish ponds. In the Middle Ages, fish and oyster farming developed in the proximity of the coastal monasteries. Feudal landowners soon joined this trend and for centuries onward they appropriated and exploited top locations for fish and shellfish farming. Fish pools and ponds were used for the farming of: mullets, gilthead sea breams, sea basses and eels.

Fishermen of Zadar County - the pioneers of mariculture

The project of cage farming of tuna began in the area of Zadar at the end of 1995, upon the initiative of a handful of emigrants from the town of Kali on the island of Ugljan. Because of the increased demand for tuna on the global and, in particular, on the Japanese market and its high prices, tuna fishing quotas were cut, at first in the southern hemisphere and then in our country too.

Kali Tuna was founded at the end of 1995. It was the first company in this part of the Mediterranean to start with tuna farming. Since then, tuna business has become extremely important for Croatian mariculture and is one of the most successful Croatian exporting projects. Kali Tuna initiated its experimental production in 1996 in its tuna farm along the island of Iž. During the first year of production it succeeded in farming and marketing 39 tons of tuna on the Japanese market. Several other companies followed the footsteps of Kali Tuna and started to farm tuna.

Competitive advantages of Zadar County

Zadar County is the most successful Adriatic county as regards the production and export in the sector of mariculture. However, there are still significant development opportunities in this area.

The advantages of mariculture in Zadar County are the proximity to the largest markets, especially the Italian market, sea cleanliness and quality and the perception of high quality fish from the Adriatic that is pertinent to foreign markets. It is important to emphasize that Croatia is the only country in Europe with juvenile tuna farms; other countries only deal with tuna fattening.

1. Natural resources

The indentedness of the coastline and clean environment make the coastal area of RC and Zadar County a unique location in the whole of Mediterranean area. The coastline consists of numerous technologically beneficial and quiet bays, coves and channels suitable for mariculture. There is a whole range of sites adequate for different types of farming of marine organisms.

The climate and oceanographic conditions favour rapid and successful fish and shellfish reproduction. The coastal area of Zadar County is still unpolluted and clean, which is a basic precondition for farming. According to the “Study of Use and Protection of the Sea and Underwater Area in Zadar County” of 2003 and in line with the accepted classification, environmental conditions of the sea in the coastal area of Zadar are of top category, which quality and description-wise implies: oligotrophic sea, of blue colour, sufficiently oxygen-saturated and more than 10 m of transparency.

2. The existing experience and expertise

Croatia, and in particular its mariculture in Zadar County, has often played a role of a pioneer in the Mediterranean area. This is still very much reflected in the existing experience and accumulated knowledge and in trained, professional and scientific staff.

The existing scientific institutions are well experienced and are fully able to follow and assist the sustainable development of this activity.

3. The existing offer of marine organisms not fulfilling the requirements of market demand

In high-income countries and in RC there is a growing trend of turning towards healthy and highly nutritional food where sea products play a significant role. Meat consumption has decreased and fish is more and more introduced into modern diet. Concurrently, the catch offer is reduced because of the pressure exerted on natural resources, which made it imperative to put fishing under stricter and more organized control.

It is clear that the mariculture market keeps increasing and becoming more demanding. Global and local consumption continues to grow. Today, the per capita consumption in Croatia is between eight and nine kilograms and the EU average is around 20 kilograms.

4. Mariculture as a complementary aspect of tourism

The momentum the tourism sector is undergoing is the basis for continuing opening of the local market. The growth of the sector of tourism in the region has strengthened the demand for mariculture products. Mariculture is extremely compatible with tourism and fishery, which are both traditional activities of the coastal area.

5. The area available for mariculture development

Fishery is expected to decrease and aquaculture production is expected to increase in both Europe and some other regions of the world. However, further growth in the European Union and in North European countries will most probably be impeded by space limitations, competition for water sources, rigid environmental measures and the development of market and low-cost import from non-European countries.

Unlike North European countries, where the available coastal area is one of the main limiting factors, Croatia boasts significant opportunities for the development of fish and shellfish farming. Zadar County has all the natural preconditions and available locations for fish and shellfish farms and these have also been envisaged in the general spatial planning.

The total farming area under concession covers 1.652.281,60 m2 the spatial plan of Zadar County is available on the following web site

Key Companies

Cromaris p.l.c.
Cromaris is a company dedicated to breeding, selling and processing of fish. Their knowledge and expertise are inherited from the long experience of the greatest domestic names in mariculture and fish breeding, which have recently merged under the name of Cromaris.
Trg tri bunara 5, 23000 Zadar
Tel: +385 (0)23 254 960
Fax: +385 (0)23 250 883

Mardešić Ltd.
The "Mardešić" factory was founded in 1905, and fish production began in 1907. Considering that the factory is located in Sali on Dugi otok for more than 100 years it represents the main source of income for the local people and those of surrounding islands. Nowadays the factory produces canned fish, mostly sardines, anchovies, tunas and mackerels.
Sali bb, 23281 Sali, Dugi Otok
Tel: +385 (0)23 377 029
Fax: +385 (0)23 377 064

Dalmar p.l.c. - open sea farming
Their fish farms are located near the marine park of the wonderful Incoronate Islands: the fish swim in open sea and feed in an environment made favourable by the uncontaminated waters of the Croatian archipelago. Each fish is marked with a small flag that attests the origin and quality obtained by controls effectuated during the entire farming cycle. The packaging of the product is carried out using the most advanced technology for the selection, weighing and distribution of the fish, thereby guaranteeing a high and constant qualitative standard over a period of time.
Obala Kralja Petra Kresimira IV br. 64, 23211 Pakoštane
Tel / Fax: +385 (0)23 381 978

Jadran tuna Ltd.
Established in year 1997, Jadran tuna is following world's technology and market trends, and developing constantly. Since most of their production is quality tuna meat for Japan market (used in sushi and sashimi), they are using technology chosen and controlled by their clients in order to fulfil client's requirements. Today, they have 13 fishing ships, 2 towboats, refrigerator ship and several ships and boats used for farming and various interventions.
Vukovarska 86, 23210 Biograd na Moru
Tel: +385 (0)23 385 355
Fax: +385 (0)23 385 359

Kali Tuna Ltd.
Kali Tuna farms Atlantic Bluefin Tuna in the calm waters of the Adriatic Ocean. The companies core product is sashimi grade tuna. Kali Tuna seeks to produce and distribute healthy seafood in an economical, efficient and environmentally friendly manner. The company is located in the archipelago of Zadar, along Croatia’s Central Adriatic coast.
Put Vele Luke bb, 23 272 Kali
Tel: +385 (0)23 28 28 00
Fax: +385 (0)23 28 28 10

Zadar-tuna Ltd.
Zadar-tuna is a company for production and trade, established December 17, 2004. Since May 2, 2008. Zadar Tuna takes over tuna farming and trade from AT together with the concession on maritime demense «Pod Mrđinom» on Ugljan Island, as well as the associated equipment. Yearly planed farming is 230 tons.
Head office:
Kolegina ulica b.b., 23272 Kali
Vatroslava Linsinskog 12b, 23000 Zadar
Tel: +385 (0)23 332 082
Fax: + 385 (0)23 331 834

Ostrea Ltd.
The factory has been in fish salting since 2000 and under the name Ostrea since 2003. At the peek of the season the factory employs over 300 workers. Having a yearly production of 3500 tons today, Ostrea is the biggest producer of salted anchovies in Europe.
Benkovačke bojne 17, 23420 Benkovac
Tel: + 385 (0)23 682 040
Fax: + 385 (0)23 682 012

Adria Zadar 1
Gaženička 32, 23000 Zadar
Tel: + 385 (0)23 209 900
Fax: + 385 (0)23 342 308

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(Automotive components industry)

The manufacturing of basic metals and fabricated metal goods has a long tradition in Croatia. Much of the basic metals industry is owned by state funds and banks, whereas private ownership dominates in the manufacture of fabricated metal products. Domestic companies' financial potential in this branch is limited, increased foreign investment of all types is both needed and expected.

There are four machine engineering and three electrical engineering faculties in Croatia which are (colleges) annually producing some 1.000 graduates in the fields of engineering and information technology. Supported by the technology centres of the engineering faculties at the Universities of Zagreb, Rijeka and Split, these experts have the opportunity to develop attractive, entrepreneurial focused manufacturing programmes.

The number of companies possessing ISO 9000 certificates is growing, which is one of the conditions for co-operation and export to industrially developed countries, and also for establishing subcontractor and strategic partnership, especially with domestic manufacturers of machines and equipment.

Companies, which produce machines, appliances and vehicles, actively participate every year in many specialized fairs within Zagreb Fair. The Croatian Chamber of Economics organises national joint attendance of their members on both domestic and international fairs depending on the interest of their members.

Prior to Croatian independence Zadar with it’s companies SAS and BAGAT stood out in this sector. These companies employed a large number of people and operated with customers from Germany to Russia.

Competitive advantages of Zadar County

1. Proximity of EU countries

Croatia and Zadar County offer a significant advantage, the proximity of the EU market, especially in comparison to the Asian countries whose main competitive advantage lies in their low labour costs. Relative vicinity to the automotive factories in the EU-15 countries, good geographic position and intensive investments in modernisation of infrastructure give domestic producers a great initial advantage.

Apart from lower transportation costs, vicinity to the customers is lately becoming increasingly important, because of the focus on synchronous delivery of parts to customers, according to their daily needs in order to decrease, as much as possible, the storage costs before vehicle assembly.

2. Quality of domestic suppliers is on European Standards level

Majority of domestic suppliers hold all relevant certificates, primarily ISO 9001, but also, more and more the TS16949 certificate. Quality of the products meets high standards set in the automotive industry, which is proven by the fact that most part of the production is exported to the European Union markets. The European level quality and, at the same time, lower labour costs than in other Western Europe countries, are factors creating a significant comparative advantage for Croatia.

3. Strong cooperation of Croatian producers with clients in the area of research, design and planning of new products

Numerous Croatian companies have successfully developed new product lines or services, or upgraded existing ones in past years. Use of AutoCAD and other software for design and development of components is relatively spread in comparison to the situation in other countries of the region.

According to an OECD study, numerous Croatian suppliers already cooperate with their clients in areas which demand deep, stable and medium to long-term business relations, such as product development, product design and production planning. The level of cooperation is much better than in other parts of the region. In addition, majority of the companies use web sites for communication with their clients and regularly participate in on-line public procurement.

All these elements are a clear proof of deep and strong relationships between local suppliers and international clients.

4. Competitive costs and workforce productivity

The Republic of Croatia is still a country with competitive costs compared to EU countries. However, workforce productivity in Croatia is higher than in most countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which is presented in the following graph.

5. Skilled workforce

An important advantage is the quality and availability of highly skilled workforce, or engineers.

6. State support to the development of automotive industry

Although state subsidies are limited in terms of time, since these are direct sectoral state subsidies to producers, they largely contribute to technological modernisation and competitiveness of companies operating in Croatia. CBRD (Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development) loans provide additional funds intended for acquiring working capital at favourable terms.

Croatia has a proactive approach to attracting FDI in automotive industry, which include not only tax reliefs, but, also, access to industrial zones and speeding up the procedure of acquiring the necessary licenses.

7. Possibilities for connections with producers in other countries

Good geographic position and globalisation of the automotive production opens for producers in Croatia possibilities to connect with companies in surrounding countries which have significant capacities for production of automotive parts, especially Austria, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia and Romania.

Examples of cross border cooperation already exist, and further possibilities exist for creation of international clusters with producers in Member states and candidate countries. In spite of a high level of industrial rivalry on the international level, current trends in automotive industry force producers to intensify cooperation.

8. Strong tradition

One of the automotive industry crucial heritages in this area is the high level of specific training in automotive sector and availability of skills, including skills which are closely connected with the production of automotive parts, for example metal processing industry, welding, plastic products production, electric equipment production, machine engineering, production of high precision components.

Zadar has a rich and long tradition in metal processing industry. Before Croatian independence, Zadar based companies SAS and BAGAT were among the most successful companies, employing a large number of people and dealing with clients from Germany to Russia. Foreign investors already present in the region pointed out in an OECD study that the presence of skilled workforce in automotive industry was the decisive factor when they selected Zadar county as a location for their investment. According to them, this was not the case in other emerging markets.

Key Companies

LTH Metal Cast d.o.o
LTH Metal Cast in Croatia was founded in 1980 and joined the LTH Castings Group in 1999. After resuming the production in the early 1990s, the company focused predominantly on raw parts production.
Benkovačkih bojovnika b.b, 23420 Benkovac
Tel: + 385 (0) 23 684 810
Fax: + 385 (0) 23 681 032

SAS Strojogradnja d.o.o.
SAS machine tools company was founded in 1961. Today it is a very successful member of the RIKO group. The production programme of SAS machine tools company includes:

  • Special machine tools
  • Machining centres
  • Flexible manufacturing systems and lines
  • Transport and manipulating equipment

Domovinskog rata 1, 23000 Zadar
Tel: +385 (0) 23 200 200
Fax: +385 (0) 23 321 233

HSTEC d.d.
Hstec (formerly SAS-HSTEC d.d.) was founded in the year 1997 for development, design and production of high speed precision motor spindles, direct drives and other high speed technology, as well as for engineering, design and automation of special machine tools and systems.
Zagrebačka Ulica 100, 23000 Zadar
Tel: +385 (0)23 205 405
Fax: +385 (0)23 205 406

Aluflexpack d.o.o.
ALUFLEXPACK is a Croatian company founded in June 2001 as successor of former Folijaplast founded in October 1981, with head office in Zadar, 23000, Murvica bb. AFP has two production plants, in Umag and Zadar, and it employs 400 people. The company uses the state of the art technologies for printing, lacquering, extruding and laminating. Our main activity is flexible packaging and conversion of aluminium foil and flexible films.The plant in Zadar is specialized for the aluminium program – UV flexo, conventional flexo and is orientated towards dairy and pharmaceutical industry. The company is certified according to the ISO standard 9001:2000.
Murvica bb, 23000 ZADAR
Tel: +385 23 205 205; +385 (0)52 703 300
Fax: +385 23 205 155; +385 (0)52 741 217

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Brief History

Tourism in Zadar has a very long tradition. The historical yearbooks record that in June 1879 a group of excursionists from Vienna visited Zadar, in 1892 the City Beautification Society was founded (active until 1918), and in 1899 the Mountaineering and Tourism Society "Liburnia" was founded.

At the beginning of the 20th century, in March 1902, hotel Bristol was opened for the public (today's hotel Zagreb). The most important period for the development of tourism in Zadar County was from the 1960's - 1980's of the 20th century, when the majority of hotel complexes were erected.

Competitive advantages of Zadar County

  • Zadar County is safe, attractive, hospitable and environmentally aware county
  • Fast development of tourism offers investors a unique opportunity to invest in a continuously growing dynamic sector.
  • Croatia has been successfully building an image of a safe and attractive tourist destination, which is a significant competitive advantage given the fact that safety is high on the list of factors influencing the choice of holiday destination.
  • No high category tourist facilities.
  • Tourist facilities and capacities are available throughout the year and there is potential for prolonging the tourist season beyond the usual summer months.
  • Additional tourism potential lies in the hinterland of the Zadar County (there are only 15 registered rural tourism facilities).

Key Companies - Main tourist facilities

Among numerous others the most important tourist facilities are:

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