Zwicker

ZWICKER & CO LIMITED

LUNENBURG, NS

CIRCA 1789-1970

THE OLDEST EXPORTER OF FISH IN THE NEW WORLD, LUNENBURG’S ZWICKER & CO OPERATED FROM 1789 UNTIL 1970 WHEN THE DECLINE IN THE SALTFISH INDUSTRY CAUSED THE FIFTH GENERATION TO CEASE OPERATIONS.

THE FIRST SETTLERS IN LUNENBURG WERE PROTESTANT FARMERS AND HAD LITTLE INTEREST IN THE FISHERY. THAT CHANGED IN THE 1800’S WHEN BRITISH COLONIAL SHIPPING RULES WERE RELAXED. NOVA SCOTIANS WERE ALLOWED TO BUILD AND OWN SHIPS AND TO DEVELOP INDEPENDENT WORLDWIDE TRADING RELATIONSHIPS.

THE ZWICKER’S WERE ACTIVE IN THE TRIANGLE OF TRADE - BETWEEN ENGLAND, NOVA SCOTIA AND THE WEST INDIES.  THEY OPERATED A FLEET OF VESSELS IN TRADE. LATE, THEY OPERATED THE SALT-BANK SCHOONERS THAT WERE HARVESTING THE FISH. 

THIS GROWTH IN TRADE ALSO RESULTED IN THE BIRTH AND GROWTH OF LUNENBURG’S RICH AND STORIED HISTORY IN SHIPBUILDING. THE VAST MAJORITY OF VESSELS WERE BUILT, OWNED, OUTFITTED, SAILED AND REPAIRED BY LUNENBURGERS.  

OWNERSHIP OF THE VESSELS WAS TRADITIONALLY DIVIDED INTO 64 SHARES WITH THE BUILDERS, CAPTAIN, CREW AND MERCHANTS ALL OWNING SHARES.  THIS RESULTED IN A COMMUNITY WHERE EVERYONE WAS WORKING TO ENSURE THE SUCCESS OF THE VESSEL. T

HE BUILDERS MADE THE SHIPS FAST AND STRONG, THE FISHERMEN SEARCHED FOR THE RICHEST FISHING GROUNDS AND THE OUTFITTERS AND MERCHANTS SOUGHT FAIR PRICES FOR PROVISIONS AND HIGHEST VALUE FOR THEIR CATCHES. 

TO THIS DAY, ZWICKER’S WHARF IS A WELL KNOWN LANDMARK ON THE SOMEWHAT GENTRIFIED LUNENBURG WATERFRONT.

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