How the Fiji beche-de-mer trade cycle made millionaires

(In April 1830 ) the Clay (259 tons) of Salem arrived. during the ‘forties, the (beche-de-mer) trade was at its height, and a number of ships from New England ports made regular voyages.

Beche-de-mer collection and processing: The Captains usually hired local cutters, or employed their own boats, to establish and operate stations at suitable points; the ships then cruised from one station to another, collecting the cured “fish”. The profits were attractive.

One ship got 840 piculs at a cost of 1,200 dollars, and the cargo sold at Manila for 12,600 dollars. The Glide got 500 piculs of beche-de-mer and 300 pounds of tortoise-shell in a little over a month.

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