In the 1970s, Oregon's coastal fishing industry, consisting for the most part of small, family-owned boats, was being devastated by the rise of large foreign fleets competing for ever-decreasing stocks. Seeing the industry changing and the big canneries moving out or closing, Warrenton fisherman Norman Kujala adapted by building his own cannery on the banks of the Skipanon River in 1978.
They buy most of their albacore from local fisherman who catch the fish one at a time using the hook-and-line method. This type of fishing eliminates by-catch, the unintended harvesting of other species, which has earned the West Coast albacore fishery the certification as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). Certification has been important, Mark said, "so people can feel comfortable that it's not depleting large numbers of the species."
Once the albacore is brought into the cannery, the loins are filleted and cleaned by a small crew who've been working for the family for decades. As you'll see in the video, the fresh loins are then sliced, hand-packed into cans with two salt pellets and sent through the ancient canning machine. The wire cage holding the cans is lifted into a large pressure cooker that cooks the fish, which means the fish cooks in its own juice without needing oil or water to keep it moist.