Why large farmed trout could be absent from Italian tables this Christmas

Italian households looking forward to seeing the large Rainbow trout they’re  accustomed to as part of their Christmas feast will likely be disappointed this year because of the drought affecting fish farmers in northern Italy.

Rainbow trout is the second most widely farmed marine species in Italy, accounting for a quarter of the value and volume of Italian aquaculture production, data from the European Commission show.

Farmers of fish – and farmers of crops such as rice – in northern Italy are seeing record heat and drought not seen in 70 years. Fish farmers are forced to sell the fish at sizes smaller than what was usually programmed, Andrea Fabris, an official with the Italian Fish Farmers Association, told news outlet Mispeces.

The official described the situation as a perfect storm, compounded by the rising prices of raw materials and energy. This, Fabris said, is hitting freshwater fish production in northern Italy the hardest, specifically rainbow trout and sturgeon.

As a consequence of the lack of water, he says that an economic problem has been generated due to the need to pump water inside the facilities, with the consequent extra energy cost. These additional costs are added to those of food and logistics, among others.

While the gravity of the situation cannot be fully tallied until the current production cycle closes, the priority of fish farmers now is to survive, the official said.

Eating fish during Christmas eve in many Italian households is a tradition stems from Roman Catholic traditions.

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