Cod fishery was the foundation of economy in Louisbourg as well as the Cape Breton Island. This fishery is conducted both in offshore and in shore. It is organized in two different seasons, and the dominated the colonial economy over the years. It plays a very significant role in the international economy in Louisbourg.
Fishes in Louisbourg fisheries are preserved by drying and salting. These had been very important food delicacies within Europe. Because of the high demands, the tough competition for fish stocks resulted to international rivalries. In Cape Breton Island, the profit value of the dried cod exports in 1737 reach to many times greater then the fur trade value of Canada in the same period. Most of the major cod exports were made in West Indies and France.
As the settlement, construction, and economy grew in Louisbourg, the town became the central unit for commerce between the colonies of West Indies that include the French, New France, and the France. The town also becomes the major base for fishery industry. To make this industry more profitable, the Louisbourg Lighthouse was constructed at the southeastern headland in 1734. This was the first lighthouse in Atlantic Canada.
The surrounding areas of the Fortress of Louisbourg were rich because of cod fisheries; however, the place has a poor soil and cold climate. This is advantageous for vegetable gardens where various herbs and vegetables are grown such as peas, beans, carrots, turnip, cabbage, thyme, sage, parsley, and mint. Aesthetically design beds were also built in the place to grow useful plants and occasional flowering plants for attraction.
The industry of fisheries in Louisbourg is greatly shown at its Louisbourg Marine Museum. This museum features recovered artifacts from the sunken ships of 18th century that has something to do with the marine history, fisheries, marine life, and the like. Apart from artifacts pertaining to the local history of Grand Banks fisheries in Louisbourg, the museum also, highlight model ships, complete fishing gear, and a dory.
Sword fishing and lenses from the Louisbourg Lighthouse are also displayed inside the museum. An aquarium of 300-gallon tank was built to entertain the tourists. It contains various saltwater marine species and fish specimens that are preserved in acrylic. Among these species and specimens are the turbot, skate, monkfish, haddock, codfish, dogfish, and more. Collections of essential stems from Alex Storm are found at the Louisbourg Marine Museum. Alex Storm was the famous adventurer and diver who discovered the Le Chameau and other sunken treasures. Some of his artifacts are also seen at the Atlantic Statiquarium Marine Museum, also located in Louisbourg.
Fisheries in Louisbourg are prospering and lucrative. This is because of the spacious, well-protected, and ice-free harbor that the town has. The harbor has a perfect location along the Atlantic coast of North America. This strategic location had made Louisbourg an important center of trading since ocean-going vessels from Canada, West Indies, and France, and coastal ships from Acadia and New England are very accessible on it. Every year, there are 150 vessels sailing into the harbor, making it one of the busiest seaports in North America, and the busiest one in New France.