Catching herring in styleThe fish weir in Kappeln
The fish weir in Kappeln
Unique all over Europe
The fish weir in Kappeln dates back to the 15th century. Back then, there were almost 40 such wattle fences erected side by side in the middle of the Schlei.
From the 13th to the 16th century there was a fierce competition between the Holm fishermen from Schleswig and other fishermen, the so-called "Schleijunkern", who were lords of the Schlei region. It took until 1614 for this dispute to be settled and a balance was found.
Today, the fish weir consists of 2,000 ash wood piles run into the Schlei floor measuring between 1.8 and 4.5 metres. Horizontal ash wood piles give additional strength to the weir. Herrings take this structure for a natural obstacle. Due to the strong current of the Schlei, the fish rarely turn back despite the obstacle and swim along the fish weir which gets increasingly narrower to a point where the fish can't escape anymore and eventually they are fished out.
This w-shaped fish weir is the last of its kind, not only in Germany but also in Europe and, therefore, it is a unique sight in the Schlei city of Kappeln which can be best viewed from the flap bridge. An annual spectacle in Kappeln is the "Heringstage" (Herring Days) on Ascension Day weekend.