The history of Hungarian fishing stretches back to the origins of the Magyar people and their ancient homeland. Several archaeological finds and comparative linguistic and ethnological research prove that our most ancient fishing tools and methods originated in the Finno-Ugric homeland. The Magyar Conquest brought significant changes to fishing.
In Hungary fish dealing, closely related to fishing, had been undertaken by fishmongers. In the 15th and 16th centuries some fishmongers could only sell bream varieties, while others dealt in other fresh fish. Sturgeons and stureton varieties could only be sold by the guild of butchers with royal patent.
The first independent interest groups of professional fishers, the fishing guilds, were organised in the early 16th century. Their aim was to secure the protection of fishing waters and the monopoly of fish retail for themselves. The regulations of the guilds determined professional conduct, the level of skill as well as fishing methods, leases and the business of fish selling and trade.
A separate unit presents the history of fishing in Hungarian rivers and lakes. Visitors learn that most villages along the Danube were inhabited by fishers. For several centuries the most valuable fish here was the sturgeon. The other important fishing region is the River Tisza. In the past its rich fish fauna provided a bountiful catch. Among natural lakes the fishing at the two most important, Balaton and Lake Velence, are also displayed.
The definitive role of natural freshwaters, the importance of fishing and its connection to conservation and their mutual interests are demonstrated in a separate showcase. The almost 80 indigenous fish species of the Carpathian Basin are presented in a diorama imitating their natural environment, with the indigenous, introduced and protected species highlighted differently.
The contraction of natural spawning places and the decrease in the number of naturally spawning fries made it necessary to establish artificial hatchery bases. The exhibition also presents the activities of the Dinnyés Hatching Farm and the Mildwater Hatchery at Százhalombatta (TEHÁG).
The showcase dedicated to science and research demonstrates the activities of the Fish Breeding Research Institute (HAKI), a descendant of the Royal Institute of Fish Biology and Water Purification, the first fishing institution in Hungary.
The exhibition concludes with the presentation of competitive fishing (the role of MOHOSZ, catch results, membership etc.).