Michigan Maritime Museum to host lecture on Lake Michigan commercial fishing


Coming up on Wednesday at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven will be a lecture on the commercial fishing industry in Lake Michigan.

The museum’s Ashley Deming tells us Joe Kutchera grew up working as a fourth-generation fishmonger at Empire Fish Company, which was founded by his great grandfather. He’ll present information on the company’s history.

“He’s really kind of put it together with this personal picture of 1960s or 1980s photos as commercial fishing is really starting to decline and then really as the industry pretty much collapses from where it had been many years earlier,” Deming said.

Deming says the story is a good example of the small commercial fishing operations that used to operate in Lake Michigan. The era has largely passed.

“There’s still a commercial fishing industry, but it’s getting quickly surpassed by the recreational fishing industry. The fishery has changed quite a bit. The marine environment has changed quite a bit. So a lot more commercial fishing is happening farther north.”

Joe Kutchera will present photos and stories obtained from his father, Tom Kutchera, which show the Empire Fish workers who supplied fish to Wisconsin’s many fish fries and restaurants.

Deming says the presentation will be Wednesday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Michigan Maritime Museum. It’s $10 for non-members to attend, and free for members. Those who are attending are encouraged to register online.


Recommended Posts