Canadian Fishing Company, Prince Rupert

Canadian Fishing Company, Prince Rupert

by | Oct 16, 2022

The Canadian Fishing Company operates fish processing plants on Prince Rupert Harbour at Seal Cove and at George Hills Way, about 89 miles (143 km) southeast of Ketchikan and 72 miles (116 km) west-southwest of Terrace, British Columbia. George Hills Way is named after George E. Hills who was an English-born political figure in British Columbia and represented Prince Rupert in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in 1953. The company was a small halibut fishing operation in 1906 based in Vancouver when it was purchased and incorporated by the New England Fish Company. The New England Fish Company was organized in 1868 by fish dealers doing business in Boston so they could supply themselves with halibut from the Atlantic Banks. To satisfy increased demand the company began fishing for Pacific halibut on the west coast in 1893. Because railroads in the United States refused to permit fish refrigerator cars to be attached to passenger trains, the company decided to base the west coast operations in Vancouver, British Columbia, where the Canadian Pacific Railway permitted the practice. The steamer Capilano from the Union Steamship Company in Vancouver was employed for the 1894-1895 fishing season. The small freighter was commanded by Captain Freeman who later participated in organizing the Canadian Fishing Company.

The Canadian Fishing Company, known locally as Canfisco, built a large cold storage and ice-making plant in Vancouver in 1910. In 1912, Canfisco expanded to the north coast of British Columbia by purchasing Atlin Fisheries Limited in Prince Rupert. In 1923, the company purchased the freezing and cold storage plant at Butedale, near Wrights Sound, from Western Packers Limited along with canneries at Shushartie Bay on Vancouver Island and Marguerite Bay on Smiths Inlet. In 1925, the company purchased Kildala Cannery on Rivers Inlet, Manitou Cannery on Deans Channel, and Carlisle Cannery at the Skeena River which were owned by Kildala Packing Company. In 1934, a public cold storage plant was built adjacent to the Atlin Fisheries plant in Prince Rupert which was purchased by Canfisco in 1945. The same year Canfisco purchased the Nootka-Banfield Company with its fleet of pilchard and herring seiners and plants at Nootka and Port Albion. In 1969, the Canadian Fishing Company purchased part of the holdings of the Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company Limited including North Pacific Cannery on the Skeena River.

The parent New England Fish Company went bankrupt in 1980 forcing its subsidiary to sell its northern holdings to British Columbia Packers Limited. In 1984, the Jim Pattison Group purchased the company and began marketing its products around the world. In 2000, the company completed the purchase of British Columbia Packers Limited. The additional real estate in British Columbia and Alaska included processing plants, fishing licenses, and boats that more than doubled the size of the company. Today, Canfisco has plants in Prince Rupert, Vancouver, Richmond, and in Alaska at Naknek and Ketchikan. Read more here and here. Explore more of Canfisco and Prince Rupert here:

About the background graphic

This ‘warming stripe’ graphic is a visual representation of the change in global temperature from 1850 (top) to 2022 (bottom). Each stripe represents the average global temperature for one year. The average temperature from 1971-2000 is set as the boundary between blue and red. The color scale goes from -0.7°C to +0.7°C. The data are from the UK Met Office HadCRUT4.6 dataset. 

Credit: Professor Ed Hawkins (University of Reading). Click here for more information about the #warmingstripes.

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