National Sea Products fonds

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National Sea Products fonds

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MG 3, vol. 646-810, 5175; Library o/s v/f vol. 13, no 10 and SH 334/N2781; graphic materials: 1981-542 and N0053-0074.

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  • 1899-1997, predominant 1900-1940 (Creation)
    National Sea Products

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Physical description

  • 30.5 m of textual records
  • 24 photographs and other graphic material

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Administrative history

National Sea Products Limited originated in Lunenburg in 1899 as W.C. Smith & Co., a ships' chandlery and salt fish operation. In 1926 the latter company merged with Lunenburg Sea Products, a cold storage and fresh fish plant, while retaining its company name. Soon the new company began to modernize its offshore fishing ships by installing diesel engines in existing vessels and constructing new types of dory trawlers and diesel powered otter trawlers. In addition, it was one of the first fishing companies to install radio-telephone communications between fishing vessels and port, and to introduce other electronic and navigational equipment. Further expansion led to the construction of new plants at Louisbourg, North Sydney, Lockeport and Digby, as well as Shippegan and Loggieville, N.B., and sales offices were opened in Montreal, Toronto, New York and Boston. In 1938 both Lunenburg Sea Products and W.C. Smith & Co. were acquired by a holding company, Smith Fisheries Ltd. During World War II the company built two modern otter diesel trawlers, Cape North and Cape LaHave, that revolutionized the Atlantic fishing industry by replacing offshore line fishing by draggers towing trawls along the ocean floor. The company also improved its processing methods and equipment, and developed a variety of new frozen seafood products. In 1945 Lunenburg Sea Products, its associated companies, and Maritime National Fish Company of Halifax were acquired by outside interests and amalgamated into National Sea Products Ltd. In the 1960s Nat Sea built a new plant at Battery Point on Lunenburg Harbour that was considered one of the most modern and largest fish plants in the world. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, as with the fishing industry in general, Nat Sea was plagued by over-inventory and a weak market. But in 1983 the establishment of federal government quota and allocation systems helped stabilize the industry and improve the company's financial outlook. In 1998 Nat Sea became a division of High Liner Foods Incorporated, one of North America's largest marketers of fresh and frozen seafood and frozen pasta products. In 2003 the sale of National Sea Products' High Liner Foods fleet to Clearwater Seafoods, Halifax, was announced.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of: Series - Correspondence and other material, Series - Fishing operations records, Series - Annual shareholders' reports and other financial records

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Donated by National Sea Products in 1972, 1981, 1983 and the 1990s.


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Associated materials

Records of the National Fish Company, Halifax, 1912-1943, a subsidiary of Nat Sea, may be found at the Dalhousie University Archives. As well, the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic, Lunenburg, holds memorabilia and artifacts relating to National Sea Products and its predecessors.

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