Cannery Row, Monterey

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Cannery Row, Monterey

by | Feb 7, 2019

Cannery Row is the site of several now-defunct sardine canneries along the waterfront of Monterey, California. The waterfront and neighborhood were made famous by the novels Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck. The first book was set in time during the Great Depression and the sequel occurs following the end of World War II.

The canneries failed after the collapse of the sardine fishery along the California coast in the mid-1950s. The collapse resulted from a combination of factors including overfishing, changing oceanic conditions, and competition from other species. Before the collapse, the Pacific Sardine fishery was one of the most productive in the world, supported in part by abundant planktonic food in the cold nutrient-rich water upwelling from the Monterey Canyon and elsewhere along the coastline.

Cannery Row is now considered the waterfront area between San Carlos Beach and MacAbee Beach, or between the Monterey Harbor Marina and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Aquarium is located at the former site of the Hovden Cannery. This was among the oldest and largest of the canneries serving the Pacific Sardine fishery in the first half of the 20th century. Norwegian immigrant Knut Hovden founded Hovden Food Products Corporation which opened in 1916. By canning squid at the end of its life, Hovden Cannery managed to outlast its neighbors and became the last cannery on the row to close. The Aquarium opened in 1984. Read more here and here. Explore more of the Monterey waterfront here:

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