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Campaign Encourages Czechs to Eat Fish

by Ellen Hardy
11 September 2008, at 1:00am

CZECH REPUBLIC - Perhaps unsurprisingly for a landlocked country, the Czech Republic has one of the lowest rates of fish consumption in the European Union.


Petr Gandalovic
Photo: Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic

Czechs eat around five kilograms of the stuff on average each year, writes Rosie Johnston in Radio Praha. But oddly enough, this country is also one of Europe's largest fish producers – and most of the thousands of tonnes of carp, sander, and other freshwater species farmed here end up being exported elsewhere on the continent. Now though, the government has launched a new campaign to encourage Czechs to eat more of their own home-grown fish.

Agriculture Minister Petr Gandalovic is the man behind the scheme. He has earmarked 150 million crowns (nearly 9 million USD) to encourage Czechs to up their fish intake. He says that one of the project’s biggest aims is to get Czechs eating fish all year round – and not just at Christmas, as is tradition here. The scheme, using EU funding, will last four years. In its first stage, the Agriculture Ministry wants to highlight just how little fish Czechs are currently eating.


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"Every attempt to make Czechs eat more fish and to support the domestic fish-farming industry is good"
Pavel Mayer

Reactions to the scheme have been mixed in Prague, but what about in the regions where the majority of Czech fish is farmed? To find out, I jumped on a train and headed south to Trebon – a picturesque medieval town housing a large number of the Czech Republic’s ponds, and one of the biggest freshwater fish farms in the whole of Europe, ‘Rybárství Trebon’. I met the firm’s Pavel Mayer to ask him firstly what he though of the Agriculture Ministry’s idea:

“Every attempt to make Czechs eat more fish and to support the domestic fish-farming industry is good, I think. Of course, we will see which form the campaign takes, and whether it helps or not. But any sort of advertising, whether it comes from the government or the private sector, is good news for us. And of course, fish does have a lot of health benefits, the meat we are producing here is of a good quality, there are these historic ponds here, and the tradition is here.”

Ellen Hardy