Caught, Canned, and Eaten

fishing exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum cannery

 

The History of San Pedro’s Fishing and Canning Industries

fishing exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum canneryThe Port of Los Angeles (San Pedro) was the fishing capital of the nation for much of the twentieth century. Generations of fishermen sold catches of tuna, sardines, mackerel, and squid to fish markets or canneries on nearby Terminal Island.

Today, the fishing fleet is greatly diminished and the canneries have closed, but the legacy of the fishing and canning industries endures.

Cannery workers were responsible for cleaning and inspecting fish which was later packed into cans, sterilized, and shipped to markets. San Pedro pioneered the technique of canning tuna in 1903, and world-famous brands such as Star-Kist and Chicken of the Sea had local origins.

Discover authentic cannery equipment and life-size murals, watch classic TV commercials for Charlie the Tuna, and experience that lovely aroma of fish, “the smell of money”.

fishing exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum cannery
fishing exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum cannery
San Pedro’s fishermen experienced many changes. Their work was made easier when their boats carried modern equipment such as radar. Labor-saving devices such as synthetic nets and power blocks meant more fish could be caught with less effort, though as time went on the boats often had to sail farther and farther away from home in order to find fish.

fishing exhibit lamm los angeles martime museum canneryThe annual Fishermen’s Fiesta was an opportunity for fishermen to celebrate with family and friends, give thanks, and bless the fleet. Thousands of spectators, including celebrities and politicians, lined the docks each year to view the decorated boats on parade. Enjoy silent home movies from the 1949 and 1957 fiestas, and admire the many trophies and souvenirs kept as remembrances of the event.

The Museum is temporarily closed for renovations. Call 310-548-7618 for details. Please see our Events page above for news of offsite programs.