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Monterey Bay has a wealth of sea life and was once a bustling sea port and Capitol for old Spanish California. The 26 acre Cannery Row area and fisherman's wharf was the site for launching fishing trips and processing the many tons of fish caught yearly.

The first commercialized
fishing venture in the Monterey Bay started on Alones beach and what is now Cannery Row by immigrant Chinese fishermen 1853. The Chinese came from the gold mines of the west coast and from San Franciso. The fishermen exported hundreds of pounds of fresh and dried fish to San Francisco daily even shipping dried fish to China. It was not long after setting up camp on what is now Cannery Row that the industrious immigrants became victims of prejudice and the Fishing village was burned to the ground, and not allowed to be rebuilt. Some of the Chinese remained in the area and worked in the canneries as cutters until the late 1930's.

The First Cannery
The fishermen in Monterey fished for primarily salmon selling much of their catch to the San Francisco Markets. Many of the fishermen were of Italian and Portuguese decent, most settled in the city of Monterey and Pacific Grove. In 1895 an entrepreneur named Frank E. Booth built the first cannery on Cannery Row. The cannery first canned Salmon, a fish that was very plentiful in those days. Booth began canning the over abundant sardines in 1900, after having to rebuild his cannery that was burned down apparently because of disgruntled fishermen who wanted the canner to can Salmon. In 1905 Knut Hovden a Norwegian and a Graduate of Norway's National Fisheries College with commercial fishing experience began working for Booth. Hovden made tremendous innovations in the canning industry inventing a machine solderer to solder the oval shaped tin cans. This invention saved time where before cans were soldered by hand. Other innovations that Hovden installed was an automatic cooker and machine cutter that cleaned and cut the fish. With all of the canning improvements the supply side of catching the fish needed to be speeded up. The fishermen turned to the lampra net from Sicily. The Italian word Lampra was a derived word from lampo "lightening" and meant fast haul and strong construction. The local fishermen were worried that this type of net would rapidly deplete the fish, but the fishing method was adapted and improved. Booth opened another cannery to handle additional catch and by 1912 70,000 cases were shipped.

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Sardine Fishing Fleet, circa 1940

Docking platform for moving the sardine catch directly to the cannery.

During the early cannery days workers included child labor to process the sardine catch.

Assembly line for placing the sardines in cans.