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Plenty Of Fish In The Pond

In Lech Zürs, trout and chars will tell you, if something around them is fishy.

Many places rely on expensive gauges to observe changes in the environment. No need for them in Lech Zürs. But let’s start with Andreas Mittermayr who has turned his passion into a profession a few years ago when he took up fish farming. His beautiful trout and chars, swimming happily in the crystal clear water of the fishpond in Lech, are the best indicators for changes in the environment. These highly sensitive creatures depend heavily on good environmental conditions; when nature around them is doing well, they are too.

“Hello, this is Andi Mittermayr. 15? Sure, I’ll bring them over this morning,” says the charismatic owner of the fishpond in Lech on his phone, confirming an order of fresh trout. All morning he gets calls like this one: Good quality is in high demand.
As luck would have it, this business started with a “not so lucky inheritance” of Andreas Mittermayr’s friend, a vet: a fish farm. Bewildered at first, the two of them soon came up with the idea of hatching the fish eggs at the farm’s original place, Gut Leutasch in Tyrol, and bringing the fish to Lech when they reach a size of 3cm. Lech Zürs is the perfect place for fish: The water in the pond comes directly from the very beginning of the Lech river which has its source only 14 kilometres away, at the foot of the impressive Rote Wand mountain. Char, salmon and trout are members of the Salmonidae family, “the most sensitive fish of all.” Even the slightest change in the water, say in temperature or purity, affects them. Unsurprisingly, they prefer their water as clean as possible: Pollution reduces the amount of oxygen that is available in the water – oxygen they need for gill breathing.

Living in harmony with nature

At the entrance to the fishpond stands Andreas Mittermayr’s e-bike which he uses for deliveries in the area. “This is such an amazing invention,” he says about his bike, “no smell, no sound. Just perfect.” Sustainable living clearly is a matter close to his heart, something that probably comes with watching the balance of powers in nature so closely.

His fish feed solely on what nature around them provides: stoneflies, caddies, crawfish. No added fodder, that is why fish in cold water fish farming need more time to grow: between 18 months and 8 years for big chars. The local hotels and restaurants highly appreciate this gentle form of fish farming. “Chefs like Thorsten Probost are very supportive of my work. They know why they spend more money here: Our fish are so high in omega 3 fatty acids. They provide pure fish protein with only very little fat.”

Andreas Mittermayr often welcomes service staff at his fishpond. Witnessing the positive effects that sustainable farming has on nature and on our own wellbeing first-hand makes it easier to convey the message to restaurant guests: Living and working in harmony with nature produces extraordinary quality. Such visitors make Mittermayr happy – and so do the many awards he was given for the high-quality results of his work at the fishpond.
The place is always worth a visit – there may be plenty of fish in the sea, but nothing beats a sunset in the Alps, accompanied by a glass of wine and grilled trout at Andreas Mittermayr’s little piece of paradise...

Text: Sandra Pfeifer 
Photos: David Payr //

Aug. 4, 2017

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