Though More Expensive, Hungary’s Fish Supply Remains Plenty for Christmas
There will be no shortage of fish at Christmas in Hungary, a spokesman of the Hungarian Aquaculture and Fisheries Inter-Branch Organization (MA-HAL) told news site InfoRádió. Hungarian fish will be 7-15 percent more expensive than last year, while imported ones will cost 10-15 percent more.
According to the spokesman, there is a sufficient amount of a large variety of fish on the market. Therefore, besides the African sharptooth catfish, it is possible to buy river catfish, sturgeon, and trout. In order to ensure the supply of fish to Hungarian customers during the Christmas season, a voluntary export restriction was also introduced, so that no fish are sold abroad as long as there is a demand for it on the Hungarian market.
On behalf of the association, fish prices are continuously measured in ten of Hungary’s major cities. According to the results, the prices of live fish have increased on average by 7 percent compared to the previous year. For example, the price for common carp in Budapest’s Central Market Hall has increased from 1,350 to 1,450 forints, African catfish fillet from 2,200 forints to 3,500 forints, while bighead carp went from 1,300 to 1,400 forints. For the fish imported from abroad, this year one has to pay 10-15 percent more than last year.
The Christian tradition, according to which families eat fish at Christmas, has deep roots in Hungary. Besides baked fish, fish soup is a recurring dish served at the holiday table. Hungarians consume around 30-35 percent of their annual fish consumption at Christmas. However, the popularity of fish dishes is increasing each and every year: while in the 1990s Hungarians ate only 2 kilograms of fish a year, this figure is already up to 6.5 kilograms today.