Carp price war has started

Britain’s fisheries look set to be swamped with even more carp this week after a fish farmer revealed plans to spark a price war in the industry.

Businessman Robert Foreman has built a new giant fish farm on the site of his Willowcroft Fishery in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire and has begun selling to fisheries now that he has finished stocking his 10 self-sufficient fishing lakes.

Robert plans to cut the price of his fish, which include common, mirror and ghost carp to 20lb as well as F1s, by around 50% in a bid to ‘shake things up a bit’.
He has built up a fenland empire spanning two fisheries - Willowcroft and Pentney Lakes , plus the hatchery ponds on the 14-acre site - and regularly spawns a million fish fry, although less than 50% of these survive.

The news will come as a shock to the rest of the fishing world, in light of last week’s story about overstocking and this week’s revelation that people might be getting fed up of commercial carp fisheries.

“It costs me virtually nothing to produce fish - the only limiting factor I have is the amount of water I’ve got. I’m growing on 350,000 fish this year and specialise in carp from 10lb to 30lb. Home-grown carp to 48lb and catfish to 60lb currently reside in my Six Islands Specimen Lake,” said Robert.

Neil Grantham, owner of one of the biggest match fisheries in the country, Lindholme Lakes near Doncaster, has spent over £250,000 on stocking fish in the last 5 years and thinks that carp are getting cheaper anyway.

“It’s good for business that somebody is prepared to undercut the rest of the market but I get lots of offers of cheap fish, such as 6 – 8ins carp for £1.10 for example. His original price is £2.00 for the same fish so he needs to chop prices to compete. I only stock fish bred in Britain and prefer to stick to one supplier,” said Neil.

White Acres holiday park contains an estimated £500,000 worth of fish and fishery manager Clint Elliot is also happy with the current price of carp.

“In our area it has remained at £4.50 - £5 per pound for the last five years, not rising with inflation. If you get a mix of parasites and bacteria from transferring fish straight into venues you can get problems such as Spring Mortality Syndrome so we buy the smallest C1 carp and grow them on in ponds to acclimatise them to our waters,” said Clint.

Carp size Willowcroft Prices (per lb) Average Fish Farm Prices (per lb)
2” – 4” £0.30 £0.50
6” – 8” £1.00 £1.60
10’’ – 2lb £2.92 £5.00
20– 25lb £16.25 £25.00
35 – 40lb £50 £100