Early Seiners on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

by Ken Gibson with John MacFarlane 2018


The Bull–Dog with a seine net piled on the stern of the vessel. (Photo from the Ken Gibson (from Nan Brewster) collection.)

Originally seining was done by hand, working from a beach. This worked well when fish were following the shoreline but catches were relatively small.


The Bison. The fish went to Brewster’s Cannery at at Kenn Falls in Tofino Inlet. The scow was loaded with sockeye from the net and was later unloaded in Cannery Bay. (Photo from the Ken Gibson (from Nan Brewster) collection.)

The launching of nets from boats allowed fishermen to take the fishing to the fish rather than waiting for fish to come to a beach. This was more efficient than beach seining, but the early nets were small because the retrieval was heavy slow hard work. These two vessels (the Bison and the Bull–Dog) were among the very earliest seine fishboats on the British Columbia coast – if not the very first (about 1898).

There was a cannery established in 1895 at Kennfalls near the mouth of the Kennedy River in Clayoquot Sound. In 1901 the cannery was purchased by Harlan Brewster, a local businessman who had previously been a purser in steamships. Brewster later became a politician and died while in office as Premier of British Columbia. His youngest daughter, Nan, took an active role in operating the cannery.

To quote from this article please cite:

MacFarlane, John and Ken Gibson (2018) Early Seiners on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Nauticapedia.ca 2018. http://nauticapedia.ca/Gallery/Early_Seiners.php

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