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Giuseppe, who goes by "Joe," comes from a long line of family fishermen. Joe's great grandfather was born in Sicily and emigrated to Monterey in 1906. Joe started fishing with his father on the F/V San Giovanni at the age of 7. It wasn't too much later when he took over fishing and running his...
Giuseppe, who goes by "Joe," comes from a long line of family fishermen. Joe's great grandfather was born in Sicily and emigrated to Monterey in 1906. Joe started fishing with his father on the F/V San Giovanni at the age of 7. It wasn't too much later when he took over fishing and running his father's boats during the summer when the regular crew was fishing up in Alaska. During the school year, Joe and his brothers would fish after school and on weekends, often landing more fish than the old timers who were fishing all week!
By the age of 18, Joe purchased his own boat, the F/V All Mighty, and motored up to Alaska from Seattle. He fished that boat for 3 years, until it sank due to a cracked weld from the icy water. For a few more years he worked on a factory trawler that fished night and day for Alaskan pollock, bringing in 200-300 tons per HOUR, and turning that fish into "fake crab," also known as surimi. After putting in some serious time up north, Joe found a boat in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the F/V Vito C. He motored it down the East Coast, through the Panama Canal, and up the West Coast to Monterey. "It wasn't an easy trip," he said, "big stormy seas all the way down to Panama." When he returned to Monterey, quotas were cut dramatically, which didn't make it feasible to own a boat as large as the Vito C., so he sold it for a much smaller boat: the F/V Pioneer, which he owns and operates today.
Joe and the Pioneer are a remarkable story. When he purchased the Pioneer, he was only able to run it for a few years until the economics of running the boat were unfeasible, given the amount of fish he was allowed to catch and the amount of fish he had to throw back. At that time, shortsighted regulation and management strategies had him throwing back more fish than he would bring to the dock. "We'd bring in 25,000 pounds of fish in one tow and have to discard 80% of it." It wasn't long before the economics and morality of such an endeavor made him realize he was involved in a fishery causing more harm than good, so he left the water and turned to the shore to start a new career as a general contractor. Around that time, in 2004, Joe's brother, David "Rowdy" Pennisi, was lost at sea fishing aboard his boat, the F/V Relentless. The tragic event, still shrouded in mystery and uncertainty, has left ripples in our community that can be felt today.
Fast forward 8 years to 2011, Joe returned to the Pioneer when the Pacific Fisheries Management Council revised its management strategy to address the unsustainable discards and dying industry. A new "catch shares" management strategy was implemented, giving fishermen the freedom to work together and sell and trade quota, including bycatch species, as a way to collectively support economic success and reduce environmental impact. This management strategy is not without controversy and conflict, however, because there is the opportunity for large corporate interests to aggregate large quantities of quota as a form of monopolization in the industry. Fortunately, there are emerging policies being put in place to protect fishermen and their communities from these inequitable market forces. In the long term, the verdict is still out on how this management strategy will change the lives of those who call this coast home. For the short term, it is a light at the end of the tunnel, giving fishermen like Joe a sense of hope that hasn't been felt for many years.
Within the context of this management shift, Joe was able to start fishing again. And not only has he been able to start fishing again, Joe has been able to improve his vessel's overall efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and improve product quality. The net that he custom built reduces bottom contact by 95%, while reducing the weight of the gear by 9,500 pounds. The vessel has been outfitted with new engines that decrease emissions while improving power, and most recently he's installed state of the art refrigeration to keep the product on his boat at 32 degrees. It's been a long, challenging journey for Joe, but he's never lost sight of what makes him happy: his family and fishing.
Scott caught his first fish at the age of 4, and from then on he was hooked. From trout and bass in the mountains to halibut off our coast, Scott found himself spending most of his free time on the water. At the age of 33 he decided to fully commit to his passion and pursue a career as a...
Scott caught his first fish at the age of 4, and from then on he was hooked. From trout and bass in the mountains to halibut off our coast, Scott found himself spending most of his free time on the water. At the age of 33 he decided to fully commit to his passion and pursue a career as a commercial fisherman. A few years later, Scott and his father, "Biggie," bought the F/V Tidepoint, named after Scott's great grandfather's tug boat harbored in Oregon.
When he's not fishing on the F/V Tidepoint, you can often find him fishing on Stan Bruno's boat. Sustainability is crucial in Scott's eyes, which is why he handles younger, smaller fish more carefully and throws them back, because he "sees his future in those fish." In that same way, he also knows how important it is to have a younger generation of fishermen to bring our community fish, which is why he gets a great deal of fulfillment seeing kids playing on the docks, just like he did as a child. Scott enjoys fishing for sand dabs, salmon, and albacore, but Dungeness crab is his favorite.
Tuk caught his first rockfish with his dad when he was 8 years old. They fished together recreationally on their 15 ft. aluminum boat almost every weekend, and when Tuk turned 16, his father bought a bigger boat and they both began fishing commercially. Tuk is currently a part-time commercial...
Tuk caught his first rockfish with his dad when he was 8 years old. They fished together recreationally on their 15 ft. aluminum boat almost every weekend, and when Tuk turned 16, his father bought a bigger boat and they both began fishing commercially. Tuk is currently a part-time commercial fisherman who fishes three to seven days a week out of Monterey, Moss Landing, and Santa Cruz, depending on the season. His other part-time job is working as an auto mechanic, something he enjoys immensely and that allows him to pursue his hobby and passion racing cars.
Tuk loves being out on the water in the early morning and knowing that every day will be different. When asked about the challenges of commercial fishing, he mentions all the work involved with fishing beyond catching the fish: where to fish, weather, wind, currents and, ultimately, making the right decisions.
His favorite way to cook sand dabs is unusual: simply pan fry one side, then sprinkle bits of crispy bacon on the uncooked side and flip it and cook that side until done. Yum!