Jurgen schaaf has a special relationship with carp. "This is our smartest fish", he says, watching with satisfaction as a golden-colored specimen sticks its mouth like a russel over the breeder's thumb. "That's how he holds on", he explained. And when he washes his slimy hands a little later: "they already recognize me by my voice. And when they hear my car pull up to the pond, they know: there's food now."
"Frankish pond sow" the carp is called with pleasure. For schaaf, it's "pigs that work the soil and eat snails, worms and mussels". The animals get their golden yellow color from the food: sheep feeds grain to. The predatory fish, pike and pike-perch, which he also breeds, feed on female fish, which live a short life in jurgen schaaf's ponds for this purpose alone.
How many ponds he manages, the 47-year-old cannot say. He calculates in hectares. 17.5 hectares are directly in tretzendorf, 30 hectares in total. Directly in front of the door of the schaaf guesthouse, where brother and chef stefan prepares freshly caught fish, there are four helder plants: ponds that are used as "transshipment sites" serve for the fish that are fished out and soon to be sold.
But first things first: before a carp as a "K3 it spends three pleasant summers in the family farm. He won't be bored, because he's always moving around.
It's the rough that counts
After he has been in one of the round pools of the hatchery in may and has put on a few milligrams of fat, schaaf releases him with his peers in a pond. The carp junior then shares it with his peers from the year above him. "You have to be careful that the rough ratio is right. Coarse fish leave nothing for the small ones to eat", says schaaf.
But no sooner has the carp settled in than it has to move again – this time to the winter pond. It is deeper than the summer residence, so that the carp can hibernate in it undamaged. "The fish are standing still on the bottom at four degrees celsius", explains schaaf. In this kind of winter torpor, her heart beats one to three times a minute, says the tretzendorf fish farmer. On the other hand, when the carp makes its rounds in one of the growing ponds in the summer, its heartbeat increases to 135 beats per minute.
Three summers like this, then it's time to say goodbye. If you are lucky, you will be released as a set fish with pike, pikeperch or tench in one of the dredging lakes, in the rhine-main-danube canal, in the main or in the regnitz (this happens to many even at a young age – depending on which coarse fish the customers order).) jurgen schaaf harvests an average of eight tons of K3 carp per year. He supplies only five to six percent of this to guesthouses in the district. "Alive", as he points out. The slaughter was not only additional work. The farm also had to be certified as a slaughterhouse according to EU guidelines.
All year long jurgen schaaf takes care of his fishes. Only at the beginning of the year, in january and february, he leaves the ponds on the left side. "I can only sleep peacefully when there is a thick layer of ice over it", he says. In the spring the cycle begins again.
In the schaaf family business, too, it is important to keep things moving forward. Jurgen schaaf is the fourth generation to run the fish farm. His successor is already in his rubber boots: peter junior, 13 years old, has already qualified as a future master fishmonger at the tender age of three. Because after catching his first fish, he sat down next to the animal and stroked it. The words of his youngest son still bring tears of laughter to jurgen schaaf's eyes. "You are a good fish, you are a nice fish. And soon I'll eat you."
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