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Photo Credit: Vitor Lemos

In 1934, Antonio Salazar, who ruled Portugal from 1932 to 1968, ordered a national fishing fleet be constructed to fish for cod on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Conditions on the Bacalhoeiros or “White Fleet” were harsh, but the crews were exempt from the draft, so Portuguese men opted for fishing rather than military service. Many Portuguese families were reliant on this cod fishing for a living. In 1976, Canada limited foreign access to the Grand Banks, severely curtailing opportunities for Portuguese fishermen. Around the same time, the United States established a 200-mile limit which increased the need for skilled fishermen. These new opportunities attracted Portuguese immigrants looking for work as fishermen.

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