Wet Carp Wars in Wessex

Right after Neil’s reminiscing about Christmas carp in Eastern Europe, comes a funny article in the Wall Street Journal today.

The British take their carp fishing pretty seriously, as evidenced by glossy mags like Carp Addict and Carp-Talk. Now, with the “invasion” of Eastern Europeans moving into Western Europe, as a result of the easing of work and travel restrictions because of EU membership, something fishy is going on.

Eastern Europeans are actually, gulp!, eating prized British carp. The Brits think nothing of spending $15 to $40 per day for the rights to test their skills against the wily fish, but they release their catch. Carp are smart, learn their lessons, and get bigger (50+ pounds even!) and more wary of fisherman, thus making fishing even more interesting.

This “tradition,” however, comes square up against traditions of folks like the Poles (and Czechs), who love to actually eat the fish for Christmas. So much for catch-and-release. One lake owner in Essex has gone so far as to ban Eastern Europeans from his property, for fear that they’ll eat his prize stock.

And it’s not that the fishing Poles are there for the sport: they say they’d happily buy the fish if it were sold at markets.