A fish pond, or fishpond, is a controlled pond, artificial lake, or reservoir that is stocked with fish and is used in aquaculture for fish farming, or is used for recreational fishing or for ornamental purposes. In the medieval European era it was typical for monasteries and castles (small, partly self-sufficient communities) to have a fish pond.
Records of fish ponds being used can be found from the early period of the middle ages. "The idealized eighth-century estate of Charlemagne's capitulary de villis was to have artificial fishponds but two hundred years later, facilities for raising fish remained very rare, even on monastic estates.". As the middle ages progressed, fish ponds became a more common feature of urbanizing environments. This meant the people who had access to these fish ponds were able to access a food supply in a controlled environment not unlike pastures for cattle and sheep. However fish ponds were a difficult environment to maintain. They were a marker of power and authority, since only rich nobles and institutions such as monastery's could afford to maintain them. During the winter, supplying fresh food for a castle garrison was a constant struggle. Nobles had access to meat from deer parks, but this didn't supply the needs of whole households. Though fish ponds required maintenance by the community to keep them healthy, they were an elegant way of giving monasteries and noble houses access to fresh fish. Some of the more popular species of fish farmed in fish ponds were carp and pike. From the 14th century onward these fish proved to be a popular feature of artificial fish ponds.
Fish ponds have been used in aquaculture. They are/were common in:
- Europe, especially in the Czech Republic (Rožmberk Pond, Velké Dářko, Lake Mácha), where common carp may be kept.
- Hawaii, U.S.A., , where the Native Hawaiians used them extensively.
- The Philippines where milkfish, tilapia, crabs, lobsters, tiger shrimp, snails and others may be kept.
- East Asia, especially in Japan with koi, trout, and white crucian carp.
Fish ponds are also being promoted in developing countries. They provide a source of food and income from the sale of fish for small farmers and can also supply irrigation needs and water for livestock.
Classic fishing pond used by the Clay Cross Angling Club
Fishing pond on Grainthorpe Fen
Coarse fishing pond in England
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