A crew uses a fish trap. Photo courtesy of the Cordova Historical Society

Of all the methods of catching fish, fish traps were the most efficient and cost-effective. Over 40 trap sites were established in Prince William Sound during the heyday. Traps were operated six days per week, 24 hours per day during the annual fishing season. Throughout the late 1940s and early 50s, though, there began a steady decrease in the number of fish taken statewide.

In the Cordova region, canneries packed 527,000 cases in 1947 and that went to a low of 100,000 cases in 1955. In 1954 and 1955 there were essentially no pink and chum fisheries in the Sound after two no-show years in 1952 and 1953. Fish traps were seen as directly responsible for this dilemma and the plea for their abolishment was finally heeded in 1959 at statehood.