Jägerhof around 1920

Net fishery at Lake Sacrow

History of the site "Jägerhof"

Main building around 1909

The building that houses the Institute today was built for a brother-in-law of the German Emperor as the “Jägerhof hunting centre” in 1904. It was mainly used for keeping and training hunting dogs. But with the abdication and expropriation of the Emperor in 1918, the lake and Jägerhof passed into the ownership of the Prussian state.

Lake Sacrow and the Jägerhof were leased to the Prussian State Institute of Fishing in Berlin-Friedrichshagen in 1922. A study, experimental and training centre for lake fishing management was establishing during the ensuing period and it played a crucial role in developing and introducing the principle of “fishing research in practice for practical situations”. The Jägerhof and Lake Sacrow passed into the ownership of the state institute in 1929. This laid the foundation for the subsequent further expansion of the Jägerhof so that it became a fishing research centre.

Fishery trainees at the Jägerhof around 1930

The main task in the first decade after it was set up was to use the knowledge that was available in the field of fishery biology for the efficient management of inland waters by fishing companies. Research on fishing nets was very important at the Jägerhof in this context.

The lake and Jägerhof continued to be used as an experimental and teaching facility for the German Research Institute of Fishing after the 2nd World War. As a result of the structural changes that took place in East Germany, the Jägerhof and lake were integrated within the German Academy of Agricultural Sciences (ADL) as the specialist centre for lake fishing at the Institute of Fishing in 1952.

Reed cutter around 1960

During the period from 1956 until 1962, the Jägerhof was reconstructed and converted in a very lavish manner judging by the standards of the time. Parts of the exterior of the buildings were changed enormously. During the first decade after the war, the scientists at the Jägerhof focused on issues associated with using and exploiting mass-produced fish like roach, perch and bream. Ways of catching fish also came to the fore. And research on nets was restarted too.

Firmness testing of net materials around 1960

The Jägerhof centre was reorganised as part of a review of research institutes in 1963. It was then known as the Institute of Fishing Techniques and Mechanisation at the Institute of Fishing at the ADL. The work on fishing techniques then focused more on the design of fishing equipment – e.g. making and testing trawl door stow nets for river fishing, mechanising trawl net fishing and developing and introducing electrified dragnets for freshwater fishing.

Electro fishing gear around 1960

New fields of work opened up for the centre in the 1960s – e.g. developing, designing and testing reed cutting machines, pond fertiliser devices and harvesting or fish lifts – as a result of the mechanisation of carp pond fishing and the rapid growth of trout farms. The Jägerhof was renamed the Institute of Fishing Technology at the Berlin-Friedrichshagen Institute of Freshwater Fishing in 1970. Fairly major conversion and extension work took place at the Jägerhof again in the mid-1970s.

Belt feeder around 1970

The 1970s proved that it was not possible to achieve the desired increases in the production of freshwater fish as a result of lake and river fishing. As a result, greater intensification and industrialisation took place in carp and trout breeding. This created a situation where the Institute not only had to solve pure mechanisation issues, but also increasingly overcome technical problems using process engineering. This included the production of warm water fish alongside power stations, for which aeration technology was developed and tested, for example; and this also involved developing aeration processes for highly intensive carp production in ponds. The mechanisation of fishing processes focused on harvesting and handling large volumes of fish.

The work at the centre was dominated by the complex design of processes during the 1980s. The centre also developed an enclosed cycle for stock fish production, where the used water is repeatedly processed; and a unit was developed with oxygenation and a circular tank for breeding carp stock using the hot water from power stations. This was introduced in the form of pilot installations. To achieve this, it was necessary to perform process engineering, technical and biotechnical research and development work. As a result, the centre increasingly developed from being a mainly technology oriented establishment into a centre where equal attention was paid to technology and biology.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 also led to a new direction for fishing research at the Jägerhof. The new federal states of Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt founded the Multi-State Institute of Inland Fisheries in Potsdam Sacrow (IfB) out of the former branch of the Institute in Berlin-Friedrichshagen, which had been transferred to a different research establishment in 1990 (Berlin Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Freshwater Fishing). The IfB and other agricultural research facilities in the state of Brandenburg were set up as registered associations on 1 July 1992. In line with the stipulations of the German Unification Treaty, the lake and buildings passed into the ownership of the state of Brandenburg and the Institute of Inland Fisheries now uses them.