EASTPORT (AP) – A historic sardine carrier, the Bernadine, will set sail from Eastport on Sunday on a 5,600-mile voyage to promote tourism in the Passamaquoddy Bay and Bay of Fundy regions.

The 78-foot vessel was used to carry sardines from fishing boats to sardine canneries that peppered the Maine and Canadian coastlines decades ago. Eastport was once the sardine capital of the world with more than 20 sardine canneries.

The vessel’s owner, Charles Creaser, will sail the carrier up the Canadian coast, down the St. Lawrence River and into the Great Lakes. It will then travel the inland waterways of New York state and down the East Coast to Chesapeake Bay before ending up on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, in November.

Along the way, Creaser will make stops in 25 ports where he will set up displays, show videos and give tours of the vessel to promote tourism in the areas around Bay of Fundy and Passamaquoddy Bay, which straddles eastern Maine.

Planned port calls include Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa in Canada. Stops in the U.S. include Buffalo, Detroit and New York.

Creaser, who grew up in New Brunswick and now lives in Ontario, is funding the initiative.

, said Linda Godfrey of Eastport, who is lending support to the project. The vessel will feature a display from Eastport that focuses on topics including sardines, scallops, lobsters, boatbuilding, and whales.

“This is a true labor of love and all our communities will benefit,” Godfrey said.

The original Bernadine was built in 1912 in Nova Scotia and could carry up to 70 tons of fish, Godfrey said. After falling into disrepair, the vessel was replaced by another carrier of the same name and specifications in 1942, she said.

AP-ES-06-09-07 1044EDT

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