Government settlement bars ‘Codfather’ magnate from US fishing: report
Fishing magnate Carlos Rafael will be barred from U.S. commercial fisheries under the terms of a settlement with the federal government announced Monday, according to The Associated Press.
Under the settlement, the New Bedford, Mass.-based Rafael, known as “the Codfather,” must pay more than $3 million in civil penalties and give up his seafood dealer permit. He was sentenced in 2017 to four years in prison on charges of evading fishing quotas and smuggling profits overseas, according to the AP.
“Mr. Rafael’s forced divestiture and permanent ban from commercial fishing is a fitting end to this case, on top of the criminal sentence he is already serving,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Assistant Administrator Chris Oliver said Monday, according to the news service.
The settlement “accomplishes NOAA’s chief objective of permanently removing Mr. Rafael from participation in federal fisheries,” Oliver added.
Rafael owned one of the nation’s largest commercial fishing operations and had previously boasted of his grip on the market in New Bedford, a crucial hub for the fishing industry in the U.S. He has pleaded guilty to false labeling following charges from the federal government that his boats evaded quotas on certain fish by mislabeling them as haddock or pollock.
The settlement also penalizes 17 former captains of Rafael’s vessels, including suspensions from boarding federally permitted vessels while they are at sea or offloading, which range from 20 to 200 days, according to the AP. The settlement “enables the Port of New Bedford to turn the page on the Carlos Rafael saga,” New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell (D) said Monday.