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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
St. Joseph in Berrien County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Commercial Fishing

 
 
Commercial Fishing Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, April 26, 2013
1. Commercial Fishing Marker
Inscription.  Commercial fishing was one of St. Joseph's earliest maritime trades. Native Americans and the settlers who followed found the river and lake full of trout, whitefish, sturgeon, and perch. By the 1900s, family-run fisheries became major contributors to the local economy.

In 1960, twenty-six local fish tugs were hauling in over 10,000 pounds of fish daily. Just 10 years later, the combined challenges of predatory sea lampreys, depleted fish populations, and increasing government regulations left only three tugs fishing from St. Joseph.

Reduced profits and Michigan's promotion of sport fishing contributed to commercial fishing's further decline. By 1971, this once-vital maritime industry had ceased at St. Joseph.

(Upper Right Photo Caption)
For more than 150 years, fishery buildings, boats, and net drying reels (far left) were common sights on St. Joseph's waterfront, shown here in 1896.
Photo: The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center

(Upper Left Photo Caption)
Two brothers from the Habel Fishery stand with their sturgeon catch in 1898. Commercial fishing operations at St.
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Joseph were often family-owned, multi-generational businesses.
Photo: The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center.

(Lower Photo Caption)
Steel, gas-powered tugs extended the fishing season and offered expanded access to fishing grounds.
Photo (circa 1960): The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center
 
Erected by City of St. Joseph, The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, and the Public History Program at Western Michigan University.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1960.
 
Location. 42° 6.706′ N, 86° 28.914′ W. Marker is in St. Joseph, Michigan, in Berrien County. Marker is on Water Street west of State Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Saint Joseph MI 49085, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. St. Joseph River Swing Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Creating a Harbor (within shouting distance of this marker); St. Joseph's Firemen (within shouting distance of this marker); U.S. Lighthouse Supply Depot (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fort Miami (about 400 feet away); Commercial Shipping
St. Joseph River Swing Bridge<br>and Commercial Fishing Markers image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, April 26, 2013
2. St. Joseph River Swing Bridge
and Commercial Fishing Markers
Along the St. Joseph Maritime Heritage Trail
(about 400 feet away); Recreational Boating (about 400 feet away); Shipbuilding in the Twin Cities (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Joseph.
 
More about this marker. The marker is the twelfth of 12 interpretive signs along the St. Joseph Maritime Heritage Trail.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. These are the markers of the St. Joseph Maritime Heritage Trail. To study the markers in their order along the trail, read each marker in the order shown.
 
St. Joseph Waterfront, 1896 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, April 26, 2013
3. St. Joseph Waterfront, 1896
Close-up of Image on Marker
Sturgeon Catch of the Habel Fishery, 1898 image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, April 26, 2013
4. Sturgeon Catch of the Habel Fishery, 1898
Close-up of Image on Marker
A Steel, Gas-Powered Tug image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, April 26, 2013
5. A Steel, Gas-Powered Tug
Close-up of Image on Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 30, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 583 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 30, 2013, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.

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Jun. 17, 2024