Mali Ston bay is located in the southern part of the Adriatic Sea, between the mainland and the Pelješac peninsula and continues to the Neretva channel. Mali Ston was protected as a special nature reserve in the sea in 1983. The length of the bay is 28 km, with an average depth of 15 m, maximum width up to 6.1 km.
Mali Ston bay is protected precisely because of the importance of the ecosystem for the cultivation of shellfish - the European flat oyster (Ostrea Edulis) and the Mediterranean mussel. The history of shellfish farming dates back to ancient times. It is believed that Bistrina cove was a well known cultivation site back in the time of the Roman Empire, as evidenced by oyster shells found in excavated Roman remains. The first written evidence of the trade in oysters dates back to the 16th century, while in 1667. an oyster farm was documented where wooden constructions were used for cultivation. Originally, only European flat oysters were cultivated in this area but from the beginning of 20th century stars cultivation of Mediterranean mussels. In 2019, Mali Ston oyster became the first marine product in Croatia to be protected by a label of origin in the European Union.