Carp land: Economics of fish farms and the impact of region-marketing in the Aischgrund (DEU) and Barycz Valley (POL)
The carp farmers of today face many challenges, with changing consumer habits, drought, losses of fish to avian predators and diseases presenting some of the most widespread threats. Our study has selected two European carp-farming areas as case studies: the Aischgrund in Germany and the Barycz Valley in Poland, where local stakeholders have initiated region-marketing concepts. The carp provides the core identity of these region-marketing. The region-marketing aims to boost touristic attractiveness of the regions and should indirectly support carp farmers in the strained economic situation for carp aquaculture. Notwithstanding, it is unknown, how the region-marketing effects carp farms' economics. Stakeholders were interviewed to explore the establishment and the essence of these region-marketing concepts. Focus groups of carp farmers have informed our sample of representative farms. The representative farm models enabled to compare the costs and profitability of different carp enterprises. Further, the farm models helped to explore the potential impacts and efficacy of region-marketing initiatives introduced in recent years. Our results show that the single grow-out and traditional sale of conventional fresh carp is scarcely profitable. Farmers in both regions struggle with limited options for adaptation or diversification. The difficulties are most pronounced for small-scale peasant carp farms. We consider the potential of labelling as part of region-marketing and future transfer payments that honor the contribution of carp farming to ecosystem services and cultural value (region's identity). In particular for larger-scaled carp farms, region-marketing seems to be a good means of enhancing direct marketing opportunities and generating new income sources via diversification.
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