‘Codfather’ settlement means magnate will never fish again

A fishing magnate known as the Codfather will never be allowed to return to U.S. fisheries, the federal government said Monday in announcing it has settled its civil case against a man whose arrest for shirking quotas and smuggling profits overseas shocked the East Coast industry.

The settlement with Carlos Rafael and his fishing captains will clear the way for his assets to be divested, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. Those assets have been embroiled in litigation.

Rafael was based out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and was sentenced to nearly four years in prison in 2017. He was owner of the one of the largest commercial fishing operations in the country.

NOAA Fisheries Assistant Administrator Chris Oliver said Monday the settlement “accomplishes NOAA’s chief objective of permanently removing Mr. Rafael from participation in federal fisheries.” It will also help return Rafael’s assets to productive use when they are sold, he said.

“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,” Oliver said.

Rafael’s attorney did not return a phone call seeking comment.

NOAA’s settlement with Rafael also states he is required to pay a civil penalty of just over $3 million and relinquish a seafood dealer permit. He has until the end of 2020 to sell fishing permits and vessels he owns and controls, and the transactions must be approved by NOAA.

Seventeen of Rafael’s former fishing vessel captains also face penalties under the settlement. One condition is that they must serve suspensions during which they can’t board federally permitted vessels while the vessels are at sea, or even offloading. Those suspensions vary from 20 to 200 days based on the captain’s violations.

Rafael eventually pleaded guilty to false labeling and other charges after federal authorities charged he was operating an elaborate fish fraud. They said his vessels claimed to catch haddock or pollock when they had actually brought species to shore that are subject to stricter quotas. He then smuggled proceeds to Portugal.

Rafael’s scheme, and his combative attitude, have made him the subject of television specials, including an episode of the CNBC series “American Greed” that quotes him boasting about controlling the market in New Bedford, one of the most important U.S. fishing ports.

The episode was called “Something’s Fishy: The Codfather,” a nickname for Rafael often used by media.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell said Monday the settlement “enables the Port of New Bedford to turn the page on the Carlos Rafael saga.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Piece of Red Deer history up for sale

Willson House was built in 1911 and has been completely restored

Up to 60,000 Alberta beehives could perish

“A perfect storm” of obstacles is threatening thousands of Alberta beehives. “It’s… Continue reading

57 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Friday

Central zone remains at three active cases

Frontline rural police will benefit from new support positions say municipal representatives

Province says of 43 new RCMP officers on the job, 18 will provide support and specialized services

P.E.I. reports three new COVID-19 cases, including one seniors’ residence employee

CHARLOTETOWN, P.E.I. — Prince Edward Island reported new COVID-19 cases for the… Continue reading

Even pandemic can’t spoil July

July. Finally. It’s seems like the last three weird months have taken… Continue reading

‘You have to show up:’ NDP MP questions virtual attendance of Alberta Tories

NDP MP McPherson says she’s disappointed Tory MPs haven’t been participating in virtual meetings

Flood warning, mandatory evacuation for people in remote Alberta hamlet

A flood warning has been issued for the rain-swollen Smoky River near the Hamlet of Watino

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, Amnesty, sex worker advocates say

‘We need to make sure the existing laws on the books aren’t enforced’

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $25 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

At Mount Rushmore, Trump digs deeper into nation’s divisions

MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL, S.D. — At the foot of Mount Rushmore… Continue reading

Most Read