Traditional commercial fishing
Capbreton’s ocean-front situation means that commercial fishing has always been important to the town. It is a renowned port and a former whale hunting station.
Capbreton sailors used to go as far afield as Iceland and Newfoundland to pursue their prey.
Whales were an important trade with the British.
Legend has it (although it is impossible to prove), that the Capbreton people were the first to discover America, long before 1492. It is said that Cape Breton Island, in the north of Nova Scotia, bears witness to this.
In its heyday, Capbreton’s prosperity came from long distance fishing, mainly whales and cod. The Capbreton people excelled in the art of drying and preserving fish, and also at the foreign trading of products from the Landes forest.
In the first half of the twentieth century, a large sardine fishing fleet was based in Capbreton. A preserving plant, closed in 1954, was situated where the fishery is today.
Nowadays, there are 19 Capbreton fishing vessels, which continue a 700 year old tradition.
The Capbreton fishing industry employs around fifty people (fishermen, sellers… etc) and is an important part of the local economy.