“I was born and raised in Yakutat where Libby, McNeil and subsequent owners operated a salmon cannery for decades in a facility which is still used for salmon and seafood processing today. I also have worked for the “Cannery” and fished commercially. Yakutat’s history with seafood and my own are typical of an industry and resource that serves to define Alaska today. It is a history, a present and a future that must be preserved, understood and made available to our children so they understand the balance between the use of Alaska’s rich ocean resources and the care that must be taken to assure their continual existence.”
— Alaska Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott
The Alaska Historic Canneries Initiative is a grassroots effort launched in the fall of 2015 that promotes projects around Alaska that document, preserve, and educate about Alaska’s seafood industry.
While the industry remains ecologically healthy and economically sound, the history of the industry is endangered. Hundreds of canneries, salteries, and herring plants once appeared in bays throughout coastal Alaska. Now, many slip into the sea before their stories are recorded. The seafood industry is critical to the livelihoods of many in Alaska and it is central to the state’s identity. It is time to document and preserve these places and record the stories of the fishermen and processors who define coastal Alaska.
For more detailed information about the Alaska Historic Canneries Initiative, click here to view our brochure or see the October 2015 News Release about launching of the Alaska Historic Canneries Initiative.
The initiative relies on the passion, the knowledge, and the efforts of individuals, businesses, and communities to instigate cannery history projects around the state. That means you!
Successful projects inspired by the Alaska Historic Canneries Initiative include:
<NN> Cannery History Project
<NN> Cannery History Project Jukebox
The Alaska Historical Society’s Alaska’s Historic Canneries Blog
Alaska Fisheries: A Guide to History Resources
Links and Resources for Cannery Projects
Below are examples of other potential projects, some large, some small. But whatever the size, all advance the initiative’s vision: to improve stewardship of seafood industry history in Alaska.
Many thanks to the partners and sponsors who have demonstrated their committment to Alaska’s maritime history and identity through their support of this initiative, the Alaska Historical Commission,
Alaska Sea Grant, and Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.