The role of fish in the diet and economy of nineteenth-century Tuscaloosans was huge, as historian James N. Ezell’s research reveals. Fish were not caught by hook and lure but by traps. A dozen different fish species were sold locally and shipped by rail beginning in the 1870s. Tuscaloosa fish were so prized that they commanded higher prices than local fish in Selma, for example, even though Selma was on the Alabama River. The importance of fish declined when the dams and locks installed in the 1890s.
— Moment in History compiled by Betty Slowe and Guy Hubbs