US Sardine Industry Canned

US Sardine Industry Canned

Sardines have been canned in the USA since 1875, when Eagle Preserved Fish Co. started operation in Eastport, Maine. This month Stinson Seafood in Prospect Harbor’ Maine, the last US sardine cannery, shut down this week. From now on all your canned sardines will be imported, caught, processed, and packed in other countries and shipped to your neighborhood market.

Bumble Bee Foods bought the Stinson cannery six years ago, but faced uncertainty in the supply of Atlantic sardines, the name for several types of small fish of the herring family.  The Pacific sardine went through a similar boom and bust cycle in the 1940s. California’s Monterey packing industry was the setting of John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row (1945).


“In Maine, Last Sardine Cannery in the U.S. Is Clattering Out,” Katherine Q. Seelye, New York Times.

“Snowe Laments Closing of America’s Last Sardine Cannery,” Press Release, Office of Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME).

 Maine Coast Sardine History Museum.

“Atlantic Herring (Clupea harengus”), Maine Department of Marine Resources.

“Species Profile: Atlantic Herring,”  ASMFC Fisheries Focus.

 Monterey cannery:

Cannery Row Sardine Label Image Library.

 SardineKing collection of vintage California sardine can labels.

Cannery Row By John Steinbeck, via Google Books, with an Introduction by Susan Shillinglaw.

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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