New campaign urges Czechs to eat more fresh water fish


“Eat Czech fish, it’s healthy” – that’s a new slogan being promoted by the Czech Agriculture Ministry as of September 1st. It’s part of a new campaign to promote local fish consumption. As it stands now, Czech consumption of fish remains among the lowest in the European Union: just 4.5 kilos of sea food and 1.5 kilos of fresh water fish per head per year.

But the Czech Agriculture Minister Petr Gandalovič has made clear that should change. He told the media recently that if the country was to support the Czech fishing industry, it would be necessary for Czechs to eat carp “not only at Christmas but all year round”.

Will the new campaign prove effective? With a sum of around 6 million euros (8.7 million US dollars) provided by the European Union, it certainly should. Media analyst Jiří Mikeš say for a four-year campaign the sum is just about right:

“Six million euros is certainly a fair sum but over a four year period I wouldn’t say it was an exorbitant number. By comparison insurance companies and banks annually spend much more on similar campaigns.”

Officials have indicated the project will have several phases: the first year will raise awareness. Then, following years will see additional stages in the campaign re-introducing domestic fish to Czechs with an emphasis on healthy lifestyles, quality and taste. Domestic carp and tolstolobik (silver carp) are among fish that will be featured. The four-year effort will include TV, internet and print ads as well as exhibitions, culinary events for the public and even a road show promoting, you guessed it, fish.

We wanted to find out how some Czechs saw plans for the campaign, so we spoke to several people on the streets of Prague on Wednesday. Some of the reactions:

“It’s true I don’t eat fish too often – just once in a while. Czechs eat fish mostly at Christmas, and when they go on vacation to spots offering local specialities. Here carp is the norm at Christmas; the rest of the year, you sometimes have the odd trout. I don’t try any of the weird stuff; I prefer fresh-water fish.”

“I eat a lot of fish! Czech fish and fish when I travel to Norway, so I won’t need any campaign to convince me. But of course it could prove useful for others, since fish consumption here is quite low. It has become more-or-less a tradition really only at Christmas.”