With no explanation offered, the respected Canastra brothers will not move forward with a transaction to acquire 15 vessels. Adios to Carlos Rafael's groundfish and scallop vessels.

Once upon a time, the "Codfather" benefited from close to 40 vessels that generated about $100 million per year in sales. We can say arrivederci to 15 more Rafael vessels as it was announced that Richard and Raymond Canastra, owners of BASE Seafood Auction in New Bedford, have officially taken their offer to purchase the vessels off the table.

For all intents and purposes, this allows the boats and their related permits to be sold to Bregal's Blue Harvest for $19.3 million. What will that mean on the local scene?

The Canastra brothers have wanted Rafael's vessels and took the appropriate moment on December 21 to submit an offer to purchase them. Blue Harvest had to submit a right of first refusal to members of the Northeast Fishery Sector VII, a required move when a harvester from outside the sector wants to get a permit from someone in the sector, like the Canastra brothers.

I felt comfortable knowing the vessels would stay locally when the Canastras offered to buy them, but now, Blue Harvest, a New Bedford-based U.S. scallop and groundfish supplier backed by New York City-based private equity Bregal Partners, will step in. Keith Decker, CEO of Blue Harvest, indicated that his company has a good plan for New Bedford to create long-term value. I'm interested to see what that entails, and I welcome Mr. Decker to join me on the air to chat about his plans.

In the meantime, Richie and Ray Canastra have offered an explanation as to why they withdrew their offer, which you can read in its entirety here: BASE Press Release, 1_9_20 [1337].

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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