Sunday, June 28, 2009

When Tuna Was King

Mid 20th century, tuna fishing and its related businesses were the third largest industry in San Diego, at one time employing 40,000 people. Only the Navy and aircraft industries employed more people. Albacore canning began in 1911, followed by yellow fin and skip jack in the 1920s and 30s. Van Camp (Chicken Of The Sea), Starkist and Bumble Bee all processed fish locally and San Diego was considered the Tuna Capitol of the World.

During World War II, many ships in the fleet were used by the Navy to transport men, material and supplies to the southern theaters.

Environmental laws and foreign competition both took their toll and the fishing industry in the 21st century is a shadow of its former self.

The photograph is circa 1940 and shows one of Van Camp's employees handling one of the tuna that eventually found their way into 80% of American kitchens.


Anonymous said...

Yes, the tuna fleet and auxiliary canning industry, in response to 'environmental' regulation intended to put it out of business, packed up and relocated to that environmentally enlightened paradise: Ensenada, Mexico. No doubt dolphins are breathing easier all over the Pacific.

High Desert Diva said...

Love the photo!