Museum Memories

At the turn of the century, the Alaska Packers Association and Alaska Syndicate were powerful entities based out of San Francisco that owned nearly all the canneries in Alaska and canned 85 percent of the statewide salmon pack.

These operations dominated by non-residents fished Alaska waters with short-sighted aggressiveness. They consolidated to keep prices paid to fisherman low and lease prices high; leased the boats, owned the fish traps and canneries and controlled the shipping of salmon to the west coast markets.

In short, the Packers and Syndicate monopolized the fisheries. The use of traps, pile and floating traps brought much debate. The monopolies loved traps; they could be maintained by as few as one trap watchman, with just a few more hands to brail fish. Traps were operated six days per week, 24 hours a day during the fishing season.

This photo came from the archives and collections of the Cordova Historical Society.