Accounting for nearly 90 of Czech fish output, Xmas staple carp to go on sale this week

Photo: CzechTourism

Sales of the freshwater fish carp, which is eaten by most Czechs for Christmas dinner on the evening of December 24, are due to begin later this week.

Photo: CzechTourism
Carp account for close to 90 percent of all the fish produced in the Czech Republic and the overwhelming majority of that output is consumed at yuletide.

Throughout the rest of the year sea fish is more commonly consumed in this country, although Czechs lag considerably behind the European average in terms of fish consumption.

A spokesperson for the nationwide Albert chain of supermarkets, Judita Urbánková, said it would begin selling carp from live fish tanks at stalls in front of selected stores in the middle of the week. Urbánková said Albert would be charging virtually the same for carp as in 2013.

Two of the biggest carp producers in south Moravia said they also envisaged little or no change in prices. Rybářství Hodonín is offering the oily fish at CZK 80 crowns a kilogramme, while Rybníkářství Pohořelice said it would charge between CZK 85 and CZK 95 a kilo; the latter’s director Roman Osička said it had not raised its prices in six years.

The producer Rybniční hospodářství z Lázní Bohdaneč, based in the Pardubice district in East Bohemia, said it would sell around 200 tonnes of carp on the domestic and foreign markets in the pre-Christmas period.

Owner Adolf Vondrka said this year the firm had produced fewer but on average heavier carp than in 2013. Rybniční hospodářství z Lázní Bohdaneč is charging up to CZK 89 a kilo for select carp.

This year around 10 tonnes of carp with extra high omega three fatty acids are set to go on sale. The fish is especially bred by the Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Water at the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice and helps prevent cardiovascular diseases.

Available for the third time this year, the special type of carp will be available at the České Budějovice and Prague branches of the wholesaler Makro as well as at the traditional stalls.

Some Czechs buy carp live, keep them in the bath and kill them at home on December 24. However, the majority have a fish they have selected beheaded and gutted in front of them at outdoor stands often awash with blood.

Around 600 or so such temporary stands go up around the country every year. Last year veterinary inspectors uncovered shortcomings at around 3 percent of those visited.

In the majority of cases the offences were of an administrative nature, with the second most common poor waste disposal. Other reported problems were inexpert handling of equipment and what the Czech News Agency described as the inappropriate stunning of fish.

Animal rights campaigners are opposed to the killing of fish on Czech streets and frequently protest against the practice.