Carlos Rafael Ordered to Pay $3 Million, Give Up Fishing
NEW BEDFORD— The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has settled its pending civil administrative claims against Carlos Rafael and his fishing captains.
Rafael will have to give up all commercial fishing by December 31, 2019, and all scalloping by March 31, 2020.
In addition, Rafael is ordered to a $3,010,633 civil monetary penalty and relinquish the seafood dealer permit issued to Carlos Seafood by September 1, 2019.
Allegations against Rafael included counts of misreporting groundfish, underreporting stock areas, and other federal fishery violations related to scalloping, gear and restricted areas.
In a written statement, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries Chris Oliver said this was a successful accomplishment in permanently removing Mr. Rafael from participating in federal fisheries.
"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," said Oliver.
For his criminal violations, Rafael was sentenced to 46 months of incarceration, approximately $300,000 in fines and restitution, and three years of supervised release, during which he is barred from the fishing industry.
"This settlement also holds accountable the vessel captains who now face suspensions, probationary periods, additional monitoring and reporting requirements, and the threat of a lifetime ban from the industry if they intentionally violate federal fisheries regulations again," said Oliver.
According to the NOAA, Rafael is required to sell his fishing vessels and permits and will be allowed to keep the proceeds.
New Bedford Mayor John Mitchell released a statement this afternoon regarding the settlement:
"Today’s settlement enables the Port of New Bedford to turn the page on the Carlos Rafael saga," said Mitchell.
"The most significant element of the agreement is what we have insisted on all along; that is, it imposes no restrictions on Rafael’s ability to sell his boats and permits to New Bedford-based businesses. If Rafael follows through on his intention to do just that, it will ensure that East Coast groundfish landings will continue to be concentrated in New Bedford.”