La primera Festa del Peix celebrada a Catalunya va ser la de 1910, a Banyoles. Va ser promoguda per Francesc Darder des del Laboratori Ictiogènic de Barcelona, vinculat al Parc Zoològic, del que Darder n’era també director. Tenia l’objectiu de “repoblar les empobrides aigües de rius i llacs catalans”. En aquella època, ara fa just 100 anys, es va pensar que calia augmentar les poblacions de peixos d’aigua dolça, que es consideraven massa The first Fish Festival held in Catalonia was in 1910 in Banyoles. It was promoted by Francesc Darder of the Ictiogènic Laboratory of Barcelona linked to the Zoo, of which Darder was also director. It aimed to "repopulate the depleted waters of the Catalan rivers and lakes”. At that time, just 100 years ago, it was considered necessary to increase the populations of freshwater fish, which were considered too scarce to be exploited for fishing.
Thus, the first fish festival took place in Banyoles, which, with its lake, was considered the best place for the first tests for the introduction of fish. Taking advantage of the festival, there were massive castings of fish, a fishing contest and a procession. The children of Banyoles became the protagonists throwing a fish that had been given to each of them. The hubbub was momentous, with support coming from outside authorities and journalists who spread information about the festival throughout Spain.
After this, not only Banyoles lake, but other Catalan rivers and lakes were repopulated, among other reasons to keep the volume up for fishing or to control species that had been mass reproduced.
Thus, after 100 years, the legacy is one where in some waters native species have been greatly reduced or have disappeared completely, and non-native species have colonized areas in large numbers. It is in this context that the Projecte Estany was born in Banyoles and Porqueres, a LIFE project of the European Union that will try to change this situation and to restore the native fauna to the waters of the lake.
The importance of promoting the "Projecte Estany" locally has led to various acts of dissemination. One is the holding of another fish festival, 100 years after the first, but with very different objectives. So on Saturday 23, coinciding with the Banyoles festival, there is going to be a parade, aimed mainly at Banyoles' youngsters. During the parade, a new giant headed figure will be launched, the identity of which is a surprise, in the Plaça dels Estudis, in front of the Darder Museum. Everyone will be offered a snack and the group Alça Manela will perform for the children.
During the Festival (23 to 25 October) and until 30 November, there will also be an exhibition "Festival of Fish, 100 years later" at the Darder Museum.