Lewes Beach residents had a flashback to six decades ago Sept. 19, as a six-ship menhaden fishing fleet from Reedville, Va., arrived off the coast near Roosevelt Inlet around 4 p.m.
Lewes was once home to the largest menhaden fishing fleet in the country. From 1883 to the early 1960s, the menhaden fish industry fueled the Lewes area economy. The docks and processing plants were located on the beachfront along Cape Henlopen Drive. Menhaden was processed into fish oil and fertilizer.
The fleet, part of the Omega Protein company, used large nets to catch and then process the fish on their factory ships. The company is the leading producer in the United States of Omega-3 fish oil, fish meal and fish-based feed for livestock and aquaculture operations.