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Maine closes last U.S. sardine cannery

Jill Barshay Apr 15, 2010
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The last sardine cans to say “Made in the USA” are rolling off the assembly line this week. Reporter Jill Barshay tells us Bumble Bee is shutting down the sole remaining sardine cannery in the U.S.


Jill Barshay: Two things helped kill the American sardine industry: canned tuna and over fishing. Tuna fish replaced sardines in the lunch bag, cutting demand at home. Over fishing has led to tighter fishing restrictions. Fishermen can’t catch enough in U.S. waters to supply canned sardines on a large enough scale.

Ronnie Peabody is the president of the Maine Coast Sardine History Museum. He says Bumble Bee’s already had to ship in fish from its cannery in Canada.

Ronnie Peabody: They can put out as many sardines as Bumble Bee needs. They don’t need this plant.

Maine claims it was once the Sardine Capital of the World. The industry employed entire communities along the Maine coast.

Peabody: It iss very sad to me. Very sad. Because there’ll never be another Maine sardine ever.

A hundred and twenty-eight people are expected to lose their jobs.

I’m Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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