Basque Whaling, 1575

Fishing for cod, the Basques found whales. For at least fifty years--to about 1600--Basque whalers prospered in the Labarador whale fishery, sending over 15 ships and 600 men a season. At 700 tons, these were many times larger than vessels like the Mayflower. One has been found in Red Bay, Labrador (the San Juan of 1565) and has been excavated.

On the Taking of Whales, Andre Thevet 1575 Library of Congress

Beals Wharf, Southwest Harbor

Tied up at Beals Wharf are the lobsterboat Ethel M. II and the sardine carrier Woiee. In 1955, there was still an active sardine canning industry; now the few surviving sardine carriers are used to carry bait. Woiee, built in 1918, was converted to a motor sailing ketch used as charter yacht.

Outing Brand Sardine Can

The sardine industry was very important in Maine, along with the businesses of making sardine cans and canning sardines. By 1910, there were more than thirty sardine canning businesses in Maine, and each had at least one "line" of sardines, some sardines being cut up into steaks, whole herring, or other snacks.


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