NEW BEDFORD - New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell is turning up the heat on fishing regulators as the city's Sector IX fishing group remains grounded.

NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service withdrew approval of Sector IX's operation plan in November, effectively shutting down fishing activities under that group. NMFS cited past and ongoing non-compliance with the Sector's plan to account for the quota overages illegally taken by the convicted "Codfather," Carlos Rafael.

In a letter to the New England Fishery Management Council on Wednesday, Mayor Mitchell continued to echo community sentiment that regulators should not punish all of Sector IX's members for the actions of one man, Carlos Rafael.

Mitchell stressed that the Port of New Bedford has lost tens of millions of dollars since the Sector closure in November, and NOAA should "expeditiously" establish new fishing rules for Sector IX so that fishermen and effected businesses "can get back to work without further delay."

The Council is meeting Wednesday to discuss the ongoing issues related to Sector IX.

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