Shearwater Cannery, Observation Point

Shearwater Cannery, Observation Point

by | Jun 7, 2019

Kadiak Fisheries operated a cannery at Observation Point, on the north shore of Shearwater Bay, from 1926 until 1964 when it was destroyed by a tsunami. Shearwater Bay extends northeast for 3 miles (5 km) off Kiliuda Bay on the southeast coast of Kodiak Island, Alaska. The descriptive name for the bay was given by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1904 probably for the abundance of short-tailed Shearwaters inhabiting the area.

Kadiak Fisheries built the cannery in 1926 to process the large runs of pink salmon, especially those caught in fish traps on the east side of Kodiak Island. That year was very successful with the highest catch of salmon since the beginning of commercial fishing in Alaska. In October of that year a windstorm blew down the main buildings and the cannery was not rebuilt in time for the 1927 season. But it operated in 1928 and intermittently in the following years.

Alaska gained statehood in 1959 and immediately abolished fish traps, resulting in the permanent closure of the cannery. In 1963, a grass fire spread by high winds burned many of the structures. This was followed by the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake and a tsunami that swept the Kodiak coastline destroying the remaining cannery buildings and resulted in the loss of 30 vessels in Shearwater Bay. Read more here and here. Explore more of Observation Point and Shearwater Bay here:

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