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WBSM EXCLUSIVE: Canastra Brothers Offering $93 Million for ‘Codfather’s’ Fishing Fleet [VIDEO]

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NEW BEDFORD – One of the owners of the Whaling City Seafood Display Auction in New Bedford is shedding more light on a proposed deal to buy the “codfather’s” fishing fleet.

Carlos Rafael has been sentenced to 46 months in prison for his illegal fishing scheme, and cannot be involved in the fishing industry during that time and three years after his release.

In an exclusive interview with WBSM’s Phil Paleologos, Richard Canastra confirms he and his brother, Ray, have entered into a memorandum of agreement with Rafael to buy his business, Carlos Seafood, Inc, for $93 million.

“We know boats. We know the business. We’re doing this to keep this in New Bedford,” said Canastra. “My plan is to get out, hopefully, in ten years when things lighten up and it can be sold properly instead of this fire sale where people want everything for nothing.”

The Canastra brothers have approached a local bank they do business with for the Whaling City Seafood Display Auction, and are working to secure financing. Richard Canastra says the bank is “very supportive” of the deal.

Canastra says there are national green organizations and other special interests in Maine that want to purchase Rafael’s 13 forfeited permits. A federal judge has not yet decided what will become of those permits. Canastra says the Port of New Bedford would feel the pain if Rafael’s boats were sold to an out-of-city buyer or redistributed throughout the Northeast.

“We’re about 35 draggers that fish out of New Bedford. We used to have a good 150. It’d go down to about twelve vessels fishing out of New Bedford.”

The deal between the Canastra brothers and Rafael hinges upon the judge’s decision. The decision was expected to come down along with Rafael’s sentencing on September 25. It’s not known when a final decision on the permits will be made.

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