MYSTIC, CONNECTICUT - Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say fishing vessels that transferred to Sector VII from Sector IX in New Bedford may have to wait until mid-summer to begin leasing quotas.

NOAA closed down fishing out of Sector IX in order to assess just how much quota was illegally used up by fishing magnate and now convicted "Codfather," Carlos Rafael.

At a meeting of the New England Fishery Management Council on Wednesday, NOAA proposed a plan for Sector IX that would treat illegal catch in each fishing year as if it was known immediately after the end of the season, eliminating any carryover of unused quota into the next fishing season if there was any illegal fishing.

Once the amount of the illegal catch for that season is identified, the sector can begin to repay the overage out of the 2017 lease quota. Sector IX vessels would be free to lease remaining quotas after repayment.

NOAA says the new rules, if approved, wouldn't be in place until mid-summer.

NOAA also said that Sector IX vessels that transferred to Sector VII would not be allowed to begin fishing in the new season beginning May 1, as allocations in that sector would fall under a different rule-making process.

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