Saturday, February 13, 2010

California Fish Company and the Alpha

I have completed quite a bit of research on the California Fish Company and its fishing vessel named the Alpha. Here is a preview:

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.


Angela said...

I was just transcribing an oral history where one of the women said the boys in school would all carry their knives with them to school. When the Alpha came in there would be a distinctive whistle and all the boys would take off running to go process the fish. This could be in the middle of classes and the teachers completely accepted it.

Harbor History Guy said...

Thanks for the information Angela.

May I ask at what historical repository this transcription is located?