NEW BEDFORD — The federal government says a group of commercial fishing operations dominated by a magnate known as "The Codfather" will be shut down for the rest of the season.

Carlos Rafael pleaded guilty to smuggling money to Portugal and evading fishing quotas. He was sentenced to nearly four years in prison in September.

Rafael was the key figure behind a fishing group called Northeast Fishery Sector IX by the federal government. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Monday that it has withdrawn approval of the sector's operation plans for the rest of this year and next.

Sector IX currently has 22 active vessels, of which approximately 20 are owned by Rafael.

The decision means vessels in the group that are currently at sea must return to port immediately. The agency says the sector and its members haven't complied with requirements of their operations plan.

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