Letters to the Editor for Oct 08, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
After reading Kera Abraham’s excellent article, “Flash in the Can (Oct. 1-7),” perhaps a little history is in order.
The sardine fishery in Monterey/California was the largest fishery of a single fish in the history of the United States. At its height, there were 19 canneries and reduction plants employing hundreds of folks from around the Monterey Peninsula.But the truth is that the Monterey sardine, or pilchard, was never a popular sardine for eating. People thought it was too oily.
The real money was not in the canned products but rather in the byproducts. Next time you go the supermarket and buy chicken, you can thank the Monterey sardine for it. Prior to 1920, the chicken industry in California was not doing very well; people didn’t eat chicken like we do today as it was expensive. But then they began to produce cheap chicken feed from the heads, tails and offal of the Monterey sardine. The chickens loved it, even thrived on it, more and more chickens were being produced, the price of chicken went down, and people began to buy more of it. A retired California Fish & Game biologist once said, “Foster Farms Chicken owes its life to the bones of the Monterey sardine.”
Although heavily regulated, the sardine fishery today is a fully recovered fishery. It’s just that people don’t eat sardines like they did during the Great Depression when it was a cheap food source. The Monterey Fish Company was canning Monterey sardines up to a few years ago and selling them for less than $2 a can, but there just wasn’t a market for it. I have sitting on my desk one of the last cans of Monterey sardines they produced.
I wish Daren Warnick and the Cannery Row Sardine Co. the best of luck. It’s great to see something on the row that actually connects to its history.Tim Thomas, Museum Historian, Monterey Maritime & History Museum | Monterey
The update on the Salinas shooting (“Updates,” Oct. 1-7) states Chief Louis Fetherolf declined to state whether Cruz (the victim) had any criminal history or mental illness. Well, I am sick of the media’s one-sided cheerleading when a police officer shoots someone. He’s always right because he’s a police officer defending himself. Maybe we should ask the same question of our police departments. Are some police officers criminals or mental patients? There are other choices in dealing with a suspect who doesn’t have a gun, too. Logic states you would warn the suspect to drop the knife, fire a warning shot or use a taser. Using logical choices and coping with the language barrier are what have been absent from these two Salinas shootings, where the victims were both Spanish speakers.Bill Graham | Salinas