NEW BEDFORD — As part of his plea deal with federal authorities, it's expected the "Codfather," as he's known, will forfeit his fishing licenses and they will be auctioned off throughout the region.

Ward 4 Councilor Dana Rebeiro field a motion Thursday requesting those licenses remain in the city to provide opportunities within the fishing industry to residents and fleet owners already operating out of the city.

"I want to get ahead of the game, I think we all want to," said Rebeiro. " We don't want to be playing catch-up and the idea is to keep the industry here but also expand the industry."

"We have an opportunity to expand it to minorities, to women and certainly there's enough people here that can do that and really get people to have a good wage and be homeowners," she added.

The motion requests Attorney General Maura Healy and representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, come before the Committee on Internal Affairs to discuss offering fleet owners based in the city first right of refusal for the licences.

The motion, co-sponsored by Council President Joseph Loeps and Ward 5 Councilor Kerry Winterson, also requests representatives from the Economic Development Council, Workforce Invesment Board, YouthBuild and Harbor Development Commission attend the future meeting to discuss employment and apprenticeship possibilities and outreach.

Rafael is expected to be sentenced this June in federal court.

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