Giuseppe "Joe" Pennisi, F/V Pioneer

Photo by Corey Arnold

Photo by Corey Arnold


Guiseppe “Joe” Pennisi is a third generation Monterey fisherman. He began fishing at age 7, deckhanding on weekends and during summer vacation. He began running his own boat when he was 18 years old, but it unfortunately sunk in the icy seas of Alaska. He then fished Pollock in the Bering Sea, but returned to his native land and family to fish out of Monterey.

While being deeply rooted in traditional fishing, Joe also made a name for himself as an innovator to improve his boat’s efficiency and fish more sustainably. Joe now owns and operates F/V Pioneer, a light touch trawler. He custom built his net so that it doesn’t drag along the bottom, hence the term “light touch.” He increased the mesh size, so smaller fish can escape unharmed. He has also installed Go-Pro cameras in his net, so he can monitor what’s happening under water. Check out videos of the nets in action at Pioneer Seafoods. He is the first fishermen in 17 years to be issued a permit by the City of San Francisco to sell his catch direct-off-the-boat to the public at Pier 47 (right across from Scoma’s Restaurant).

Joe is working with the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust to bring local fish to the local market.