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Fishing in Minsk: past and present

Centuries ago people tried to settle along major watersheds and rivers. In the ninth century, the first settlements on the territory of modern Minsk appeared in the valley of the river Svisloch. Even then locals were eating fish.

Alexander Zubey, researcher of the Ichthyology laboratory of the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences for Bioresources:
Remains of different fish species, such as bream, catfish, asp and perch, were found during the excavation of the Minsk historical area called Zamchischa.

For a long time Svisloch had been the main place of fishery in Minsk. Until the 18th century, locals treated themselves to pikes, catfishes, breams, perches, roaches and other fish species.

Alexander Zubey, researcher:
However, people fished not only in the city. They went down the river as far as possible, because there was a lot of fish. Then they returned to the city and sold it in a market.

Also, fishermen from other Belarusian towns as Pripyat, Berezina or Narach brought their catch to Minsk markets, mostly in winter. 

Alexander Zubey, researcher:
It was difficult to transport fish in summer, as it spoiled fast. Fish could be salted, but until the 16th century, salt was in short supply.

Today in supermarkets we can find canned, salted, smoked and wet fish. Nevertheless, even nowadays avid fishermen go fishing.

Nikolai Lipsky, fisherman:
The fisher, determined to catch a good fish, will catch it. First of all, you need to learn how to lure the fish and catch it with a good fishing tackle.

Alexander Rozin, fisherman:
In the river you can catch roach, perch, and ruff. There is also predatory fish such as pike and bream. Bream is the most desirable trophy of the Minsk fisherman.

Alexander and Nikolai often go fishing in Minsk. They even participated in a fishing competition on the river Svisloch.

Nikolai Lipsky, fisherman:
This is a special place for me, as here I caught my first fish. I’ve been fishing for 10 years. I get wants and needs met.

As for Alexander, he cast his first home-made wooden fishing rod at the Komsomolskoye lake. He used to come there with his parents on weekends and since then he never stopped fishing.

Alexander Rozin, fisherman:
It begins with curiosity and desire to try. Then you start to like fishing, you like being outdoors with like-minded persons.

The process itself gives satisfaction to fishermen. For that reason, some people let the hooked fish go.

Fishing has been popular in Minsk since ancient times and remains popular now. However, today it is not a method of food production, rather, it’s a pleasant pastime. 

Fishing in Minsk: past and present