Development of the Pacific Salmon-Canning Industry

Development of the Pacific Salmon-Canning Industry: A Grown Man's Game

Edited and with an Introduction by Dianne Newell
Copyright Date: 1989
Pages: 336
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Development of the Pacific Salmon-Canning Industry
    Book Description:

    Doyle (1874-1961) was founder and first general manager of a major consolidation of packing companies, British Columbia Packers Association (established in 1902), which became British Columbia Packers Ltd., one of the few pioneer fish-packing companies that remains viable today. He was recognised by friends and enemies alike as the unofficial industry historian not only for British Columbia but also for Alaska and the Pacific US coastal states. Doyle was a vora-cious collector of "intelligence," whose extensive papers, now stored in the archives of the University of British Columbia, constitute the only comprehensive insider's history of the rise of the industry.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6216-5
    Subjects: Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Figures
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xix-2)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 3-20)

    The Pacific Coast salmon fishery is ancient. Traditionally, the Indian population fished heavily in the coastal waters and tributaries for both food and trade purposes. With the arrival of European fur traders, in the eighteenth century, a small local salmon market developed in response to their provision needs. Then, in the wake of the famous gold rushes from California to Alaska-Yukon, the salmon fishery became an industrial enterprise, and the canning of salmon was continuous from 1864. By 1900, the entire northwest coast of North America, from Oregon to the Bering Sea, had become the base of the largest salmon...

  8. CHAPTER ONE Henry Doyle and the Formation of British Columbia Packers Association, 1901–1902
    (pp. 21-64)

    The 1890s had been boom years on the Fraser: a succession of very large spawning runs of sockeye caused the number of cannery operations to triple, to forty-nine, by 1901. The stark, only partly mechanized, seasonal plants, adjacent outbuildings, wharves, and racially segregated housing quarters for the fishers, cannery gangs, foremen, managers, and others sat on pilings driven into the tide banks. These cannery campvillages stretched from the city of New Westminster, where many of the first plants were built, to where the south and north arms of the Fraser empty into the Gulf of Georgia.¹ The early business boom...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Scramble for Control
    (pp. 65-130)

    International control of the Fraser River system sockeye fishery – specifically, the rise of the Puget Sound sockeye fishery at the expense of the Fraser – was a major issue for the BC salmon fishery by the turn of the century. The salmon-canning industry of the Puget Sound district had started in the 1870s (document 10).¹ Most of the early canners there had received their start on the Columbia River, then had moved northward into the Sound and Alaska in the 1870s and 1880s. A boom occurred in the fisheries in the Sound and in the Fraser River district of BC in...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Expansion and Diversification
    (pp. 131-156)

    A major turning point in the industry was 1905, the “big” year for salmon all along the Pacific coast. Out of this boom season developed a thirteen-year period of expansion and growth, interrupted only briefly by economic downturns in 1907 and 1913.

    Helping the spread and growth of the industry after 1905 was the rapid and unprecedented mechanization of the fish-handling and -canning processes and the use of powered boats and gear. In the 1905 season, a predicted, the existing canneries could not handle all the raw fish available; keeping up with the gluts in fish overtaxed many of the...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR War and Post-War Depression
    (pp. 157-192)

    The war and immediate post-war years were tumultuous times for Canadian resource industries. Supplies of raw materials became limited, and their prices soared. Labour became increasingly scarce and expensive as men either went off to the military front or shifted into high-paid work in war-related industries at home. But despite these problems, the cannedsalmon industry thrived. Canned foods were ideal for wartime.¹ Once canned, foods were preserved virtually indefinitely, could withstand rough handling, and did not require special storage conditions. Canned salmon was a particularly important food ration because it was precooked and ready to eat from the can. Moreover,...

  12. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  13. CHAPTER FIVE Winners and Losers
    (pp. 193-234)

    Henry Doyle attempted to re-enter the industry immediately after losing control of his canneries in the early 1920s. First, he tried to orchestrate a new amalgamation from outside the province. The person who would publicly arrange for financing and secure the options on the British Columbia canneries had to be an impartial party who could act, as Doyle had twenty years earlier, quickly, without tipping off the individual cannery operators. Doyle himself was now so intimately involved in the industry that he had to operate strictly “behind the scenes.”

    In 1922, Doyle asked a few Vancouver businessmen to approach potential...

  14. EPILOGUE Keeping the Record
    (pp. 235-236)

    For the rest of his life, Henry Doyle tried to keep abreast of developments in the industry by subscribing to fisheries publications and corresponding with officials in the field. His old friend James A. Motherwell, who served as the Canadian government’s Chief Inspector of Fisheries for BC from 1921, when F.H. Cunningham resigned, until 1946, secretly supplied him with details of the annual pack. “I know how necessary it is to have this information for your very complete records ... and that you will treat it confidentially,” he wrote to Doyle on March 23rd, 1935.¹ Doyle’s reputation as the unofficial...

  15. Appendix
    (pp. 237-252)
  16. Glossary of terms
    (pp. 253-274)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 275-288)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 289-294)
  19. Index
    (pp. 295-303)