How the illegal pursuits of a fishing empire could affect an entire industry already struggling under intense regulation.
He’s been dubbed the Codfather. Carlos Rafael, owner of a fishing empire that is the largest in the Northeast if not the country, is accused of exploiting federal fishery regulations to get ahead and misreporting hundreds of thousands of pounds of fish. His alleged crimes expose the pitfalls of a system meant to help fishermen and their catch coexist. It’s a tale of fraud, smuggling and organized crime better suited to the big screen than the docks of New Bedford.,, Besides tax evasion and fraud, the problem with Rafael’s plan is that it undermined the efforts of federal authorities to manage healthy fisheries and avoid over fishing. Fishermen from Rhode Island to Maine have had their catches limited by federal quotas since 2009 under a program regulators say promotes sustainable fishing, but for many fishermen it’s meant hanging up their hooks. During the first year of the catch-share program, there were 440 commercial boats. That number dwindled to just 120 by 2013. Read the story here 09:16