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Fish of the year - The page edited by dr. Károly Pintér and dr. László Antal

Fish of the year 2022

    As it has become a tradition nowadays, we have organized the Fish of the Year competition again. We invited all of those, who love nature and fish for being a part of our event. In this year, 4155 votes have been received on our online voting surface. With 55% of the votes (2289 votes), roach (Rutilus rutilus) has won the title of the "Fish of the Year". With 25% of votes (1038 votes), the white-eye bream (Ballerus sapa) has become the 2nd place winner. The Danube ruffe (Gymnocephalus baloni), with 20% of votes has finished in 3rd place.

    Roach is a small-bodied fish species, which can reach 15-20 cm, as maximum body size. Easily recognizable about its orange-colored eyes, dorsal, and anal fins. In the breeding season, they search for the habitats covered by dense macrovegetation for laying their eggs. Juveniles feeding on phytoplankton, macroinvertebrates in the later life section. Except for the high mountain streams, and watercourses with fast water speed, it occurs in nearly all of our water bodies along the Carpathian Basin. Because of their dense populations, they usually serve as prey for predatory fishes. It is a common, but popular game species for anglers, because it is usually the first catch of many young anglers. Larger specimens are also a common catch in bream fishing, and it is widely used as live bait for predatory fishing. In the view of gastronomy roach, as fried pan-fish in spicy paprika flour can be tasty fish food.

Fish of the year 2021

    On the basis of votes received by our website till 31st December this year the ide (49 per cent) won the title of Fish of the Year 2020 preceding the second Eurasian minnow (31 per cent) and the third European eel (20 per cent).

Distribution of IDE
(from 01. 01. 2000.)

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Fish of the year 2020

    On the basis of votes received by our website till 31st December this year the pike-perch (44 per cent) won the title of Fish of the Year 2020 preceding the second northern pike (38 per cent) and the third Danube streber (18 per cent).

Distribution of PIKE-PERCH
(from 01. 01. 2000. till 18. 02. 2020.)

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Fish of the year 2019

    On the basis of votes received by our website till 31st December this year the rudd (44 per cent) won the title of Fish of the Year 2019 preceding the second bitterling (32 per cent) and the third brown trout (24 per cent).

Distribution of RUDD
(from 01. 01. 2000. till 28. 01. 2019.)

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Fish of the year 2018

    On the basis of votes received by our website till 31st December this year the asp (38 per cent) won the title of Fish of the Year 2018 preceding the second chub (33 per cent) and the third stone loach (29 per cent).

Distribution of ASP
(from 01. 01. 2000. till 15. 01. 2018.)

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Fish of the year 2017

    More than five thousand votes were received in the voting process started in October last year by the website of the Hungarian Ichthyological Society to win the title Fish of the Year 2017. Similarly to the previous years there was a possibility to make a choice from three autochthonous candidates. The first place has been gained by the wels with nearly half of the votes (48 per cent) preceding the nase (37 per cent) and the third whitefin gudgeon (16 per cent).

    Since the great sturgeon has disappeared from our waters, the wels is our largest fish species. It is very popular among public as its large mouth and long barbels are already known by small children from picture-books. Wels is a fish of long lifespan growing through the whole life. Before one and a half century even specimens of two hundred kgs were caught from our waters but nowadays welses above 100 kgs are rarities.
    The different year classes of the species in their favourite habitats e.g. slow rivers, stagnant waters, very effectively utilize the available food resources, from fish fry to small ducks swimming about the water surface. Usually it spawns in June on willow roots or temporarily underwater shrubs. The nest with the eggs is carefully guarded by the male.
    The method of the artificial propagation of the species is an authentic “Hungaricum” adopted also in other countries. The reliable technology makes possible the production of stocking material for the market-sized wels production in ponds or basins. Due to its boneless and tasty meat the wels is one of our favourite fish for human consumption of which much larger quantities than nowadays could find utilization in households and in catering trade.

Distribution of WELS
(from 01. 01. 2000. till 16. 03. 2017.)

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Fish of the year 2016

    The voting process started in October by the Hungarian Ichthyological Society to elect the Fish of the Year from among three candidates just finished. 6364 votes were received by the website of the Society. On the basis of the number of votes the title of the Fish of the Year has been gained by the tench (58 per cent) preceding considerably the second striped schraetzer (24 per cent) and the third barbel (18 per cent).

    The tench is our popular autochthonous fish species of a very characteristic appearence. It is difficult to confuse with other fish species. Its dorsal region is dark green, the sides are olive-green but they also might be of old gold colour. There is a small barbel in each cornel of the mouth, fins are rounded. Its deep body is covered with small, deeply embedded scales. There is a mucus layer on its body which according to belief is of healing power. Probably because of this wounded fish like to rub against the tench; this might explain the origin of one of the vernacular names: "fishdoctor".
    It's favorite habitats are shallow, weedy lakes and marshy waters. In the past the tench had abundant stocks in the Carpathian basin but these have becomen thin due to disappearing of stagnant waters. However it is heartening that its population is growing in certain parts of the Tisza-tó reservoir. It is a tasty fish especially highly valued in Western Europe and for this reason it is also produced in considerable quantitiies in some countries. As a good sport fish it is popular among the anglers. Both in fisheries management and angling it has a considerable potential as far not fully utilized.
    The title Fish of the Year hopefully will turn more attention to this beautiful and especially valuable fish species of ours.

Distribution of TENCH
(from 01. 01. 2000. till 05. 07. 2016.)

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Fish of the year 2015

    On the basis of votes received by our website till 31st December this year the sterlet sturgeon (60 per cent) won the title of Fish of the Year 2015 preceding the second huchen (25 per cent) and the third ruffe (15 per cent).

    The winner from the family of sturgeons gained the honourable title occupying the first place from the start till the end of the voting process. Its popularity is obvious being a peculiar-looking fish species of our waters. Its nose is trunk-like, its mouth is found on the ventral side of the head, the elongated body is protected by bony plates instead of scales, the inner skeleton is chondroid, the tail fin remembers that of the sharks.
    Its favourable habitats are the sandy, gravel or hard clay sections of the rivers rich in oxygen where the sterlet looks for its food consisting of smaller invertebrates. One of its favourite food items are the ephemera larvae that dig up from the bottom by the help of the trunk-like nose. Normally sterlets live in groups of a few specimens but by the beginning of the winter they form large shoals in deeper places. Fishermen of the river Tisza in this period began to use a purse-sein called “palonya” operated by two men from two boats by the help of which at best a few enclosures were sufficient to make the daily capture.
    But it is a thing of the past. The sterlet disappeared from the dammed river sections but the population of the sections with current has also decreased so that in 2014 the sterlet has had to be excluded from the list of catchable species. The specimens caught by mistake should be taken back to the water in order to strengthen the populations. At the same time efforts should be made to find the way of regular stocking of artificially reared fingerlings to the river sections meeting the demands of the species.

Distribution of STERLET STURGEON
(from 01. 01. 2000. till 04. 09. 2015.)

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Fish of the year 2014

    On the basis of votes received by our website till 31st December this year the zingel (43 per cent) won the title of Fish of the Year 2014 preceding the second european perch (40 per cent) and the third sichel (17 per cent).

    It was not easy to make choice of the candidates as all the three species are worthy of this title. The slenderly-built razor fish is worthy of attention because of its decreased occurrence. The perch - being a tasty and easily caught species – is common in almost all waters of the country therefor we should rate it highly as it brings joy to many anglers. At the same time the zingel is our strictly protected endemic species living only in the water systems of the Danube and the Dniester. To our great delight by the improvement of water quality it turns up in more and more localities.

Distribution of ZINGEL
(from 01. 01. 2000. till 21. 12. 2015.)

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Fish of the year 2013

    On the basis of 6700 votes received by our website till 31st December 2012 it was decided that the burbot (Lota lota) will have the title Fish of the Year 2013. The species gained 53 per cent of all votes preceding the cactus roach (35 per cent) and the sun bleak (12 per cent).

    The election process is carried out regularly mainly in order to make our autochthonous fish species wider known and to popularize natural resources of the country. The prize for the winner is only more attention in research and popularization activities. It was a pleasure for us to observe in the last few years a slight increase in the stock of the burbot that might become a more important object of the winter angling. The tasty and boneless meat of the burbot is a delicacy. According to present regulation the minimal size allowed to catch is 20 cm that in the case of such a slender fish is less than 70 g in weight. Our Society is supporting the initiative of the anglers to increase the nationwide minimal size limit to 25 or 30 cm. By this solution all specimens would have a chance to take part effectively in the recruitment of the stock.

Distribution of BURBOT
(from 01. 01. 2000. till 09. 01. 2014.)

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Fish of the year 2012

    On the last day of 2011 the competition for the title "Fish of the Year 2012" was successfully finished. Ten thousands citizens were involved in a voting process of full of surprise turns. The highes number of votes has been gained by the crucian carp before mudminnow and vimba bream.

    The first place of the crucian carp might be explained by the fact that the species is well-known and popular among both anglers and conservationists. Some fifty years ago this indigenous species maintained large populations in stagnant waters with rich vegetation, but it has been outplaced from the majority of habitats by the silver crucian introduced into Hungary in 1954. From the waters of the neighbouring Romania the crucian carp has been practically disappeared.
    As artificial propagation of this species has been elaborated in the Institute of Fisheries Management of the Szent István University, there is a possibility of stock enhancement. The Hungarian Ichthyological Society encourages utilizers of fishing rights and angling societies for stocking crucian carp into suitable waters. By this way they can create possibilities for catching goldfish of the fairy tales and at the same time they can support the maintenance of the species on the long run.

Distribution of CRUCIAN CARP
(from 01. 01. 2000. till 08. 01. 2013.)

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Fish of the year in 2011

    Based on the results of a public opinion survey conducted on our website, Volga pikeperch (Sander volgensis) received the title "Fish of the year" in 2011, coming in first before weatherfish and spirlin.

    This species, similar to zander but having a shorter and taller body and more pronounced transversal stripes, is significantly less frequent than its relative. Our company has forwarded to the responsible authority a proposal by fishermen, according to which, the minimum catchable size should be increased from 200 to 250 mm, and the daily catch allowance reduced from 3 kg to 3 fish.

Distribution of VOLGA PIKEPERCH
(from 01. 01. 2000. till 25. 04. 2012.)

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Fish of the year in 2010

   The Hungarian Ichthyological Society declared a span long fish, the dace (Leuciscus leuciscus) to be the fish of the year 2010. The Hungarian name of this silverly scaled autochthonous species (nyúldomolykó = "hare chub") relates to the fact that its nose slighthly falls on the inferior mouth, remembering a hare or a rabbit.
   It can be found from the Pyrenees to Eastern Siberia but larger populations are characteristic only for rivers and creeeks with vivid current of water in hilly areas. It can not be found in lowland rivers or lakes as it needs spawning grounds with gravelly-sandy bottom where the current steadily assures water rich in dissolved oxygen for the eggs.

   As far it can not be regarded rare species in the typical habitats but it might become endangered by construction of dams decreasing the speed of the water flow as well as by growing sewage pollutions of running waters. Taking into consideration also the above facts, the dace has been declared to be a prohibited species for fisheries (including angling) since 2009.

Distribution of DACE
(from 01. 01. 2000. till 30. 10. 2013.)

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