Carp Hunting Season Starts In The Czech Republic

Prague Morning

The ceremonial launch of three days of harvesting will start on Friday morning at the largest Czech fish pond Rožmberk, near Třeboň in South Bohemia.

The town is the country’s most famous centre for the production of carp, which is traditionally eaten by Czechs for Christmas dinner. This volume of fish expected this year is regarded as average.

Fishing in the so-called South Bohemia sea, as the Rožmberk Pond is sometimes nicknamed, is a huge fishing and social event not only for fishermen but also for the thousands of visitors, who come here annually. This year’s pond fishing will start at 7:00 am with the first tug of the rod, on all three days.

“The year was not the best. Water scarcity will affect the size of the fish. Dehydrated areas are overgrown with reeds, and we have increased costs for the maintenance of ponds. Producers raised grain prices due to drought. All this led to an increase in the cost of growing fish,” Said Josef Malecha, Chairman of the Třebon Fishing Industry.

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Fishing is followed by sorting, weighing and marinating of the fish. You can look forward to a rich, gastronomic program, including the sale of live fish.

The Czech Republic produces 20.000 tons of fish every year: carp accounts for 88% of total production.

Once caught and chosen as keepers, the fish would be kept alive until 3-4 days before Dec. 24, when they would be sold at markets and shops all over the country and beyond for Christmas festivities.

Ever since the medieval ages, carp have been the obvious choice for Christmas dinners. Christmas carp are not killed but caught alive. In December all over the country, little pools filled with carp are put up on town squares and markets. People patiently queue as temperature drop below 0° to pick their carp. Fishmongers, dramatically smeared in blood and guts, club dead and clean most fish on the spot but they never do so without asking the crucial question: dead or alive?

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Photo: Ondřej Tomšů
PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Photo: Páv Lučištník
PHOTO: EPA-EFE

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