Monterey, Calif. -The little fish considered one of the best sources omega-3 fatty acids, reduces the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease, lowers blood sugar levels, and provide a good source of vitamin D, calcium, B12, and protein, was so abundant in the Monterey Bay at one time that Monterey was truly a sardine cannery town. Remaining sardine factory buildings were renovated and are now filled with restaurants, shopping and an aquarium that all pay homage to the edible fish, its sudden demise, and its return to the bay.
Theories abound as to why the fish disappeared. An interesting hypothesis takes into account that Sardines are affected by the ocean currents and temps. Some believe they never disappeared but simply moved elsewhere along with the currents in which they thrive. That theory could help explain why they are back as ocean temps in the bay have risen in recent years. The heated debate about Sardines and whether they were over-fished continues on.
When you visit Monterey Bay's Cannery Row, you may wonder why businesses have names such as Sardine Factory, especially when the specialty dishes on the menu focus on steaks and other fish, with very few (if any) Sardine options on the menu. The name pays homage to the industry that served the community well, fell into decay, but created a rich heritage that has been preserved to some degree at Cannery Row (canneryrow.com) where the Monterey Bay Aquarium (montereybayaquarium.org) occupies actual cannery buildings.
Visit this interesting slice of California life. Murals, statues and placards are scattered around the village documenting the Cannery's rich history and legacy. Some historical black & white photo murals are on display at the American Tin Cannery Outlets, showing actual cannery production.
After you see Cannery Row, visit nearby Steinbeck Museum in Salinas where famed author, John Steinbeck, is commemorated for his literary works, including a novel called "Cannery Row".