The Mardešić d.o.o. factory, located in Sali on Dugi Otok island, was founded way back in 1905, while production began in 1907. At the very beginning, the company operated under the name Neptun and took over the name Mardešić, which until then was the name of one of the many fish processing plants from Komiža. The Mardešić company flourished in the years following World War II when it became synonymous for quality canned fish products in Yugoslavia and the most important economic factor on the islands of the Zadar archipelago. At one time, Mardešić employed nearly 400 workers and fishermen from different parts of the country, both in the production plants and on a dozen of its own purse seiners and traditional fishing transhipment boats. The factory reached its peak in the 70s and 80s when production took place in three shifts and when the entire island was involved in maintaining the Mardešić company as one of the pillars of production in the then state. During Croatia’s War of Independence, when the factory remained in the hands of the state, the company suffered a period of stagnation. During that time, the number of employees was reduced to a minimum as was the production, and the entire fishing fleet had to be sold.
At the beginning of the past decade, the Mardešić company was bought by the Ribarska Sloga cooperative based in the so-called “most fishing-oriented place on the Adriatic“, Kali on the island Ugljan, which set out to save the nearly failed production and production plants and by doing so the rebirth of the Mardešić company began. There were huge investments in new equipment, and in 2006, due to the lack of resources the Mardešić company had to be sold once again and this time to Ante Maras from Sali, the owner of the company Jadranski Pomorski Servis (Adriatic Maritime Service) based in Rijeka. Shortly afterwards, a new and ambitious management board was put together who made it possible to start the necessary investments and upgrading of the already outdated technologies. During this period, Mardešić increased capacity, negotiated a cooperation deal with several retail chains for brand production and introduced its own brand onto the market.
2017 marked a major turning point in the history of the Mardešić company, it was then that the oldest canned fish factory in France called Chancerelle, together with the Croatian company Pilchardus decided to buy the Mardešić company. Since then, more than 5 million euros have been invested in the modernisation and renovation of the production plant, which in turn has improved all production processes. The company is oriented towards exports to several European countries and the development of its widely known Mardešić brand of canned fish.
Preserving the island's tradition of fish processing, identifying, and meeting consumers' needs for fish products and providing additional value together with the exceptional quality of the product that consumers have already recognised long ago.
With its continuous investments in the production processes, the development of new products and employee training, the company Mardešić d.o.o. upholds its role of a top-level operator on the domestic market and is continuing its expansion into other European markets.