Carp – King of Christmas or National Treasure?

By: Remigiusz Panicz

Poland is the biggest carp producer in Europe, and it is expected that in 2019 production will rise up to 21 000 tonnes. Based on available data carp sales increase every year, but without a doubt the peak is observed a week or two preceding the Christmas period.

Carp ZUT

More than half of Poles declare their willingness to purchase carp during this period. Remarkable is also the fact that during Christmas Poles consume as much as 90% of the annual fish consumption. Such situation is unique in the World. In Polish tradition, carp is a fish that reigns on Christmas tables, although other species also appear on it (e.g. herring, salmon, trout, lean fish).

Consumers value carp meat for its taste and aroma, but we should bear in mind that carp meat has also a high nutritional value. It’s a source of wholesome and easily digestible protein, health-promoting fat (essential fatty acids), vitamins and minerals. Sales are dominated by carps in live form or as carcasses, and increasingly as chunks or fillets.

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However, growing consumer awareness and the systematically increasing pace of life forces producers to search for new processing methods and to create more attractive products. Thanks to this, soon carp will be present in stores throughout the year. To overcome this challenge, Polish carp farmers will have to intensify and modernize production methods.

One solution could be combining traditional breeding in ground ponds with closed aquaculture systems. This system is currently being tested by the ZUT team together with other GAIN project partners. In addition to the breeding aspects, shortening the production cycle, supported by precision aquaculture (use of sensors, biomarkers, Big Data, IoT), the assessment of turning both by-products and side-streams into valuable secondary materials – while increasing profits and minimizing the environmental footprint – becomes crucial.

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There are several hundred carp-producing farms in Poland, which cover over 80 000 hectares of pond area. The fish farming sector employs over 5 000 people, with approx. 3 000 directly in carp farming. These farms may be interested in solutions developed in GAIN, especially those considering water availability reduction due to climate change.

Ponds are also a natural habitat for various birds, mammals and other animal species, which contribute to improving the environmental biodiversity and its attractiveness for tourism. Ponds are also important in water management – thanks to water retention they improve water balance in our country.

All of these aspects are a testament to carp being not only a King of Christmas but a National Treasure as well!

SZCZECIN LAGOON

Are we eating more fish than we know?

by: Andre Lopes

The GAIN project found that some of the most popular seafood in Europe have a higher consumption than reported in official statistics. The report, based on seafood consumption data from previous work and from retail sources was focused on ten European countries and a large number of seafood products.

In addition to demand data, new supply statistics were considered to include other sources of seafood, which include subsistence and illegal fishing. This showed that for cod, salmon, or tuna, consumption may be much higher than previously estimated.

The report states that salmon, the most consumed farmed aquatic product in the EU, has a consumption of 2.21 kg per capita, significantly higher than the 1.30 kg per capita estimates based on supply data. This means that each European consumer eats almost one extra kg each year of salmon unaccounted for in official statistics.

Similar numbers were determined for tuna, cod, trout, and other common fish products. Total consumption of seafood in Europe can be as much as 4.3 kg per capita for farmed products and 8.9 kg per capita for wild-caught products. This means that as much as one million metric tons per year of seafood can end up on consumers’ plates without ever being recorded in official statistics.