Saturday, February 13, 2010
California Fish Company and the Alpha
The California Fish Company opened in 1893 and was the first cannery in Los Angeles Harbor, the first successful Pacific Coast sardine cannery, and the world's pioneer albacore tuna cannery.
The Alpha, California’s first purse seine boat, was built in 1893 in Alameda, California. The sloop had a 60-foot mast and carried a large main sail, a “jib” (small triangular sail forward of the mast) and a “flying jib” (outermost jib). She was also most likely the first gasoline-powered fishing boat in Los Angeles Harbor.
The Alpha had a crew of about seven that consisted of a captain, engineer, cook and four fishermen, all of whom fished and helped keep the boat and gear in good working order. Members of the crew were paid wages, as well as a certain percentage of the value of their catch. The crew spotted schools of sardines at the surface in nearby waters. The easiest way to spot a school of sardines was by spotting their fluorescent glow on a dark night.