The End of the American Sardine

These days, many of us, perhaps operating under the influence of Alton Brown, have been eating more sardines — a healthy, cheap, and ecologically sustainable fish.

And yet it seems that the last sardine cannery left in America is shutting its doors:

Once a thriving national industry — and the backdrop of John Steinbeck’s gritty “Cannery Row” — sardine canneries have been dwindling for the last half-century. They have fallen victim to global competition, corporate consolidations and a general lack of appetite, at least in the United States, for sardines, despite their nutritional value and attempts by chefs to give them an image makeover.

In my experience, the best sardines seem to come from Spain or other Mediterranean countries, and I believe there’s some connection between the fish and the island of Sardinia. That said, this is a small-scale example of how currency issues play into the recession. The Spanish sardines I’ve seen are generally some of the more expensive ones in the store. If Spain weren’t on the euro, it’s currency would have devalued as a response to the very severe recession they’re having, and the Spanish ones would be cheaper, almost certainly generating more sales and more jobs in Spanish canneries.