Tubs of Christmas carp to hit the streets of Czechia this week

While some supermarkets have halted sales of live fish at their locations, Christmas carp will go on sale across the country this week.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 17.12.2023 11:38:00 (updated on 17.12.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Christmas carp tradition is slowly changing in the Czech Republic, but tubs of fish will be seen in front of supermarkets and other locations across the Czech Republic in the week leading up to Christmas. Despite a smaller carp harvest this year, prices aren't expectedly to be significantly affected, reports Lidovky.cz.

Carp is a key ingredient at the Czech dinner table for Christmas, appearing both in the form of fish soup and served breaded and fried with a side of potato salad in a tradition that dates back to the early 19th century. Carp are typically bought live in the days leading up to Christmas, but traditions have been changing in recent years.

Lidl halted sales of live carp at their Czech locations last year, and earlier this month Billa announced that they would follow suit. The decision is a departure from the traditional sale of live carp from vats, which other chains like Tesco and Albert continue to offer.

Speaking to Lidovky.cz, Lidl spokesperson Iveta Barabášová confirmed that the supermarket currently offers 100-gram portions of carp fillets for CZK 26.90, with other portions available from December 18.

Meanwhile, Tesco and Albert will sell live carp from vats outside selected stores from December 19 to 23. Despite this year's challenges in fish farming, the prices of live carp from vats are expected to remain similar to last year, ranging from CZK 80 to CZK 160 per kilogram.

While Lidl and Billa justified their shift by emphasizing a broader strategy focused on animal and environmental protection, traditionalists argue that the change is mainly driven by higher costs related to portioning, packaging, and storage of carp fillets.

According to Rudolf Provázek, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fish Market from the Třeboň Fishery Holding, the warmer weather has affected fish farming, resulting in a slightly lower production this year.

The challenges in fish farming are attributed to warmer winters, lack of freezing in ponds, and the increased activity of predators like cormorants, causing stress and exhaustion in fish populations. The deteriorating breeding conditions have also affected the trade in hatchery fish for stocking catch ponds.

Though there may be enough fish for domestic consumption, the declining fish production has impacted exports for the past three years, with a preference for the domestic market.

Czechs may see a change in their holiday meal due to these evolving market dynamics. This shift in Christmas traditions is a reminder of the far-reaching consequences of climate change on various aspects of life, including cultural practices and the food industry.

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