The Significant SeaThe parish of Merikarvia was established in 1639. At that time, the number of inhabitants was approximately 200. Boat- and shipbuilding became a flourishing trade, and Merikarvia carved a name with that trade also outside the parish borders. Tar, and later lumber, was transported by sea by peasant sailors.
Shipping and sawmill trades experienced a boom during the 1840’s, and an abundant lumber export begun. Schooners, frigates, galleasses, and yachts were built. Sawmills were established.
Antti Ahlström was an entrepreneur, who was the first in Merikarvia to rise in a visible and responsible position in Finland. His life-work had an impact on the history of Finnish lumber trade and industry. With his donation funds, the first elementary school was opened in Merikarvia in 1873.
Centre for FishingRoughly half of the Baltic herring catch in the Satakunta province was caught in Merikarvia; during the busiest years, two to three million kilograms. Nearly every villager was involved in fishing or a fishing-related industry. It has been estimated that there were nearly 200 fishing crews at the busiest times.
Fishmongers from the inland cleaned and salted fish straightaway down by the sea. Professional salteries, nine at its best, marketed the fish widely across the country. Within marketing salted fish, fish cask manufacturing grew from a handiwork into an industry branch. The best-known of the town cask workshops was Salmi’s cask factory, which was the largest factory producing wooden fish casks in Finland and, most likely, also in the Nordic countries. Fish smoking became known after the Second World War. The most notable of the smokeries in the marina was Dernjatin brothers’ smokery that ran from 1950 to 1964 and employed 20 workers at its best.
Sealing was an important trade for fishermen until the 1940’s. The seal was a valued quarry that was used for many purposes.
The sea provided a living for a great number of people in Merikarvia. Fishing gave an important addition to the table, when stony fields yielded a scarce crop. With the help of the sea, the distant and secluded Merikarvia established a connection to the rest of the world.
Visits to Stockholm, Sweden, are said to have been as common as visits to other towns. Salt was sold cheaper in Stockholm than it was sold by merchants in Pori, who also bought their products from Turku and Stockholm.