Nick was born in Hvar, Croatia, in 1914, and his family moved to Oregon when he was young. He started salmon fishing at a young age in Astoria, and then went with his brothers to fish in Alaska when he was a bit older, and that is where he first became a cook for a fishing crew. He moved to San Pedro, California, at the invitation of a friend and became the cook for many years on a tuna boats owned and operated by Captain Frank Gargas, Sr. Nick describes his schedule as a cook on the tuna boat and recounts the menu he prepared for the crew and Frank's family during a Christmas spent fishing for tuna in the waters off of New Zealand. He talks about making the crew happy by preparing special desserts for birthdays. He reflects on the big differences between San Pedro now and back when he was fishing; when it was a bustling fishing port with tuna vessels lined up at the docks and how he enjoyed the smell of tuna in the morning coming from the waterfront.
Nick Danelovich was recognized by many in the industry as one of the most respected tuna boat cooks of his era. He spent almost his entire career cooking for Captain Frank Gargas Sr. and his crew, demonstrating the loyalty and tight family-like bond that existed on the tuna boats of that era. With the crew spending so many days away from home, the cook was a reminder of home, cooking their favorite meals to help ease the loneliness they often experienced.
In the early 1900's, the West Coast tuna industry was born in the small coastal California town of San Pedro, near Los Angeles. Fishing and canning businesses soon expanded to nearby Terminal Island developing into a multi-million dollar industry. At the heart of it all was a thriving immigrant community. Generations of immigrants primarily from Japan, Croatia, and Italy harvested tuna, supported the bustling fish markets, and worked in the canneries. They explored new fishing grounds and developed novel fishing and preservation methods that influenced the global tuna industry today. Though the large tuna fleet and canneries are now gone from the area, many of those who were involved still reside there. The interviews in this collection were conducted as part of an effort to create a short film about this history. To find out more and view additional footage, visit: http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/migratory_species/voices_from_the _fisheries.html
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