by Jim Mackovjak
The abundance of cod in the vicinity of the Shumagin Islands was well known, but Thomas McCollam, of the San Francisco-based Thomas W. McCollam & Company, was the first in the industry to perceive the advantages of establishing a shore-based fishing station in the Shumagins. In 1876, McCollam purchased a hunting camp, complete with several buildings and a wharf, at Pirate Cove, a very pretty and well-sheltered harbor at the north end of Popof Island. He converted the camp into Alaska’s first codfish shore station. Originally manned by a company agent and about eight fishermen, Pirate Cove would gradually become the largest and most important codfish station in Alaska. Circa 1918, the Union Fish Company, successor to McCollam’s firm, praised the Pirate Cove stations as “without exception, the best location for all-the-year-round codfishing in Alaska.”[i]
[i] Union Fish Co., organization and assets, ca. 1918, John N. Cobb Collection, Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries, Seattle, Wash.
This is an excerpt from Jim’s upcoming book on codfish.