What’s that Smell?

The coastline of Monterey bey had an odor that could not be avoided, it was the smell of drying squid. The Chinese were probably the first fisherman to set up camp in the bay, but they were soon followed by the Portuguese and the Italians. Fishing was huge in Monterey Bay, their was competition from the very beginning, but any money making endeavor bring competition. In steps David Jacks with a dream of bringing tourism to the bay. Jacks began buying up land along the coast, knowing that it would eventually pay off a hundred times. The pacific improvement company saw dollar sugns and bought up 7000 acres of the Monterey peninsula, and bilt the Hotel Del Monte. For a short while tourism and the fishing industry walked hand-in-hand but not fir long. The hotel provided a beautiful place for the rich to get away to, and provided work for many immigrants (mostly chinese) when they weren’t fishing. Unfortunately nobody thought the two industries wouldn’t mix, but tourist didn’t to smell fish and definitely didn’t want to see their own pollution and fish parts floating in the ocean.

As tourism spread and seemed to flourish, the Chinese fisherman who had always been a contention, took the blame for the problems plaguing the coast, and were eventually all but driven out. They didn’t own the land they fished on so they were removed. This however was not the end of fishing in Monterey bay. Canneries began their businesses, unlike the early fishermen, cannery owners were focused on salmon and sardines. One season ended as the other began , so the potential for good business was always there. Business was slow at the start, simply from a lack of technology and an already established foreign market. Inevitably new technology would come to the bay and with it a booming industry would unfurl. The canneries still faced the old prejudices that had plagued Monterey from the beginning of time, the smell and pollution were still an issue. Many Montereyans knew that the canneries were a necessity for the economy to prosper in their town, but due to the smell and the pollution, the town support wasn’t a guarantee. Even with the fish by products being made into oil and animal feed the pollution and smell were still an issue.

In 1934 the Del Monte Properties Company (a tourist company) had become fed up with the lack of tourism and their inability to sell property to potential home owners. They filed an injunction in Monterey superior court.(94) the courts were not strong on the issue but in the end the canneries agreed to new technology to eliminate odor. Little did everyone know that the fight between tourism and fishing would be solved by nature not by men. They say that hindsight is 20/20, too bad people couldn’t just get along and support each other. As the bay became fished out the canneries began to fail. With the sardines gone “Cannery Row” became a virtual ghost town.

So with things looking bleak for Monterey Bay the tourist industry once again took center stage. The town had to survive and it was still a beautiful coastal town. The tourist industry decided to go a whole new way with tourism. Instead of the old days when the fishing industry was a smelly, eyesoar to the tourist, the town decided to monopolize on the old canneries and make them a part of the towns ambiance an history. They turned the canneries into malls, restaurants and the biggest tourist attraction; the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Who could have guesses that the fishing industry that fought so hard to survive, led to unwanted smells, immigration and all but killed tourism, would in the end become the place where tourist wanted to be. The town that was basically built on the fish the ocean provided once again survives on the same fish the ocean contains.

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