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From Ellerbek to Wellingdorf: the fish trade in Kiel

Landing at the deep-sea Fish Market in April 1960
Landing at the deep-sea Fish Market in April 1960

Kiel was famous for its smoked sprats even in the 18th century. There were over 40 fish smokeries here by the late 19th century, supplying the entire German Reich. The most important fishing village was Ellerbek, which was also popular because of its idyllic situation on the beach.

Poster: Fish is a healthy dish, 1931
Poster: Fish is a healthy dish, 1931

Kieler Sprotten (smoked sprats)
Kieler Sprotten (smoked sprats)

When Kiel became a naval base in 1865, large shipyards grew up on the east shore of the inlet, and they soon occupied the whole coastal strip from the Hörn to the river Schwentine. The old Ellerbek fishing settlement had to make room for this. The Kiel smokeries, which now bought their fish mainly from Scandinavia, flourished increasingly as the economy boomed in the early 1870s. Many of these businesses switched to producing canned products in the 1920s. Kiel was one of the most important locations in Germany for canned fish production in the 1930s.

A new fish market was built on the Schwentine estuary after the Second World War, bringing landing, trade and processing under one roof. A deep-sea fishing fleet was stationed for the first time. But competition with the North Sea ports became too fierce, and the canning factories gradually moved out of Kiel. The Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel (IFM-GEOMAR) is now based on the Deep-Sea Fish Market industrial estate.

Pictorial material: Kieler Stadtarchiv, Stadt- und Schifffahrtsmuseum

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