Last modified: 2010-12-04 by ivan sache
Keywords: pecheries de fecamp | letter: f (blue) |
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House flag of Pêcheries de Fécamp - Image by Ivan Sache, 30 September 2010
Fécamp was once one of the French capitals of the "grand fishing" of cod on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Until the beginning of the 20th century, cod was not dried in Fécamp; the set up of the first cod drying plant by the shipowner Leborgne in 1904 boosted the development of fish canning in the town.
On 15 February 1913, Joseph Duhamel founded the Pêcheries de Fécamp and purchased his first terre-neuva ship (from Terre-Neuve, Newfoundland); after the First World War, the company operated two more ships, the Cap Fagnet and the Simon Duhamel; the fleet brought back in 1920 some 3,000 tons of salted cod.
In the 1930s, the Duhamel fleet operated brand new ships (Bois-Rosé I, Sénateur Duhamel, Simon Duhamel II, Joseph Duhamel, Lucien Fontaine and Viking), fishing more than 12,000 tons of cod every year. The Viking, Sénateur Duhamel, Simon Duhamel II and Bois- Rosé II were lost during the Second World War, the company keeping only two ships at the end of the war.
In the 1960s, Jacques Mazoyhie (1924-1962), Duhamel's successor, diversified the activity in classic (salted fish) and polyvalent (salted and deep-freezed fish) fishing, purchasing modern ships with onboard deep-freezing system. The company launched a last ship, the Simon Duhamel III, short before the oil and cod crisis, which caused the fleet to be disbanded in 1978.
Like his competitors in Fécamp, Duhamel understood that he had to
control the whole cod processing chain, from fishing to export, and
became a shipowner-industrial. In partnership with his son-in-law
Honoré York, he founded in 1920 the Morue Normande company. Located
in the heart of the port of Fécamp, the company dried, salted and
stored the fish brought back by the Pêcheries de Fécamp fleet. In 1950, the York-Duhamel factory, faithful to its motto ("Doing only one
thing, but doing it good"), produced only cod. Forced to diversify by
the decrease of cod stocks, the Morue Normande joined the new,
promising markets of smoked herring and salmon, and created in 1963
the Servifrais company, specialized in deep-freezed fish. Cod
processing was eventually stopped in 1976. The remaining fish
processing activities were progressively grouped on the same site,
located in the Babeuf industrial park; the products were sold under
the York brand.
The Pêcheries de Fécamp and Servifrais went into compulsory liquidation on 2 May 2002. On 14 June 2002, the Icelandic SIF (Solusamband Islenskra Fiskframleidenda) group partially took over the company's assets; most of the production was transferred to the SIF factory in Boulogne-sur-Mer, only fish smoking being maintained in Fécamp.
The former Morue Normande factory is being revamped to house the Fécamp municipal museum, to be inaugurated in 2011.
Ivan Sache, 30 September 2010
The Yearbook of the Central Committee of France Shipowners (1922) shows the house flag of Pêcheries de Fécamp as white with two horizontal red stripes flanking a blue "F". The design is still used on the old Servifrais website.
Dominique Cureau, 30 September 2010