Design for a Fish-Pond in Plan and Section (Italy, 18th century)
Fishing in a fish pond system at Daye Lake near Daye, China
The fishpond of la Cambre Abbey in Brussels.
Ornamental Fish Pond at the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Sydney

A fish pond or fishpond is a controlled pond, small artificial lake or retention basin that is stocked with fish and is used in aquaculture for fish farming, for recreational fishing, or for ornamental purposes.

Fish ponds are a classical garden feature in East Asian residence, such as the Classical Gardens of Suzhou of China, the Imperial Palace of Japan and the Gyeongbokgung Palace of South Korea. In Medieval Europe, it was also typical for monasteries and castles (small, partly self-sufficient communities) to have a fish pond.


Medieval fish pond still in use today
at Long Clawson, Leicestershire

Records of the use of fish ponds can be found from the early 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.".[1] As the Middle Ages progressed, fish ponds became a more common feature of urbanizing environments.[1]

Those with access to fish ponds had a controlled source of food, not unlike pastures for cattle and sheep, for use on days when it was not permitted to eat meat. However fish ponds were difficult to maintain. They were a mark of power and authority, since only rich nobles and institutions such as monasteries could afford to maintain them.[1] In winter, supplying fresh food for a castle garrison was a constant struggle. Nobles had access to meat from deer parks, but this did not supply the needs of whole households. Though fish ponds required maintenance to keep them healthy,[1] 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.[1]


Fish ponds have been used in aquaculture.

They are or were common in:

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.[2] The ecosystem and production services offered by carp farming in fish ponds have immense societal and economic advantages. For example, per production cycle, common carp aquaculture in the whole Central and Eastern Europe fishponds offer at least 579 million € worth of services, some of which are realized while a larger part is intangible. European carp aquaculture in fishponds is probably cleaner than most food production sectors in the European Union, offering lesser nutrient burden to the environment than standard crop and livestock sectors.[3]


See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Hoffmann, Richard C. (1996). "Economic Development and Aquatic Ecosystems in Medieval Europe". The American Historical Review. 101 (3): 631–669. doi:10.2307/2169418. JSTOR 2169418.
  2. ^ Miller, James W. (2009). Farm ponds for water, fish and livelihoods.[page needed]
  3. ^ Roy, Koushik; Vrba, Jaroslav; Kaushik, Sadasivam J.; Mraz, Jan (October 2020). "Nutrient footprint and ecosystem services of carp production in European fishponds in contrast to EU crop and livestock sectors". Journal of Cleaner Production. 270: 122268. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.122268. hdl:10553/73571.