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Giuseppe "Joe" Pennisi - Fisherman Buys Buyer

Giuseppe “Joe” Pennisi Intro for Fisherman Buys Buyer

Giuseppe “Joe” Pennisi was born to Giovanni and Giuseppa Vasta Pennisi in Catania, Sicily. Giuseppe Pennisi followed in the tradition of his Sicilian father, Giovanni, and began fishing as a young boy. Giuseppe’s son’s Giovanni “John”, Giuseppe “Joey”, Mario, Marco, and David “Rowdy” shared their father’s and grandfather’s love of the sea. Under Giuseppe’s guidance they became skilled fishermen. After many years fishing the waters of Monterey Bay, and up and down the California coast, Giuseppe bought the Monterey interest in Regal Seafoods, changing it’s name to Royal Seafoods. Royal Seafoods included a fish market and a processing plant.

During the summers when his skippers left Monterey to fish up in Alaska, Giuseppe got a break from the businesses he owned and operated on shore. He went back to his first love, fishing on his boats. “That’s when my dad was the happiest, when he was out at sea fishing! No phones ringing, just Italian music and the sound of waves beating against his old wooden boats, “ said his son John.

“My father came to Monterey right after World War II ended on March 27, 1947. My Nonno, Giovanni, had been going back and forth to Sicily. Then the war broke out and the family was separated for five years. They had no contact during that time until the war was over and my Nonno sent for his family to come to the U.S. The ship my Nanna’s father and aunts were on did not make it back to New York as scheduled. It was reported missing and presumed sunk. My Nonno thought he lost his whole family and ended up in the hospital. Nine days later the ship the SS Marine Shark pulled into New York Harbor half sunk and listing without any radios or any communication systems working; they barely made it into the harbor. The ships next trip was not so fortunate. The SS Marine Shark was lost at sea with everybody on board, “ said John Pennisi.

The story that follows, FISHERMAN BUYS BUYER by Don & Inez Klopfenstein chronicles Giuseppe’s purchase of Regal Seafoods from Howard Low who had been buying Giuseppe’s catch for years; hence the title: FISHERMAN (Giuseppe) BUYS (Regal Seafood from) BUYER (of his catch)

Fisherman Buys Buyer By Don & Inez Klopfenstein

A growing company is the newest on the wharf in Monterey, California. Two years ago, fisherman Joe Pennisi bought the Monterey interest of the Regal Seafoods from Howard Low, the man to whom he delivered his fish. (Regal continues in business at other points). Pennisi calls the new firm Royal Seafoods and has built the company to encompass a broad coverage of the commercial fishing and processing industry.

From past fishing ventures, the new owner still retains three boats; the SAN GIOVANNI, SAN GIOVANNI II and the DIANA. His plant on the wharf operates a fillet line for the fresh market and handles landings of squid and market fish on a round-the-clock, year round basis delivering surpluses above their own needs to Ocean Beauty. Royal is also an albacore buyer for Star-Kist.

Pennisi has acquired the “Royal Seafood Imperial Quality Products Freezer” on Del Monte Avenue, previously the American Freezer Company, and the “Royal Seafood Marine Equipment and Repair” is a marine supply and maintenance shop that makes good use of the old Monterey railroad station. Over one hundred people are employed in the current Royal Seafood operations.

The progressive nature of the firm is evident to fishermen delivering at Royal for unloading fish there is as quick and easy as anywhere on the coast because Joe Pennisi has installed a new Temco unloader, the first in California.

Howard Low, who still manages the dock facility three days a week, said they had just unloaded black cod “13 ton in 15 minutes” a rate possible when fish have a near uniform size.

Picture of Temco fish unloader
Temco fish unloader uses vaccuum hose to unload fish.

Joe said the he read about the unloader in a foreign publication and made a trip to Vancouver, Canada to see one that the BC Packers were using and subsequently ordered his from Temco. He says it is a real labor saver that reduces the fishermen’s waiting time as well, especially as they become accustomed to sorting and preparing their catch for this kind of unloading. They find it works well on squid, rockfish, lingcod, anchovy and have even put soupfin shark through it. He said the strong dry vacuum system will suck up anything that is not nailed down tight, including bin boards and loose planks.

Picture of Howard Low and Joe Pennisi
Howard Low & Joe Pennisi
Picture of Joe Pennisi in 1960
Joe Pennisi in 1960
Picture of Joe Pennisi in 1960 on his fishing boat
L-R Joe Pennisi crew from 1960 left to right Sal Sercia, Joe Comancho, L-R Guiseppe Joe Pennisi, Tino Ursino and Peter Sercia

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