Tag Archives: Mayor Jon Mitchell

SouthCoast fishermen call NOAA’s civil action against Carlos Rafael ‘overkill’

New Bedford- Current and former area fishermen balked at NOAA’s reach in its civil action against Carlos Rafael. “It’s total overkill,” said Stephen Lozinak, captain of fishing vessel Marsheen Venture and who has been fishing for more than five decades. “The whole thing is overkill. All it’s doing is hurting the workers in the city of New Bedford.” >click here to read <21:01

Don Cuddy: Sector closure angers and worries groundfish industry

It was on Monday, November 20, two days before his retirement party as NOAA regional administrator, that John Bullard abruptly ordered the shutdown of Sector IX’s groundfish operations. The boats out fishing had to return to port forthwith.,,, Bullard’s move was praised by some but it engendered some harsh criticism in the city. Click here to read the story. 23:11

Mayor Jon Mitchell: Ban costing Port of New Bedford 500K per day

In a letter addressed to NOAA, Mayor Jon Mitchell said the Port of New Bedford could be losing nearly $500,000 a day because of the groundfishing ban. Mitchell referenced analysis prepared by Professor Dan Georgiana of SMAST, which stated the 25-day-old ban caused as much as $12 million (to date) in damage to the port. Mitchell filed is letter Wednesday, the final day in which comments regarding the ban could be submitted. Andrew Saunders, the attorney for Sector IX, the Carlos Rafael fishing division that’s prevented from groundfishing, also submitted a letter Wednesday. click here to read the story 17:55

What’s fair in breaking up the empire of ‘the Codfather’?

Randy Cushman, a fourth generation fisherman in Maine, knows what the crimes of Carlos Rafael cost him.,,, Rafael, whose downfall came after he boasted of his scheme to undercover IRS agents posing as Russian mobsters, is now serving a 46-month sentence in federal prison.,,,  Senator Elizabeth Warren fired off a letter in August warning of “needless, immense damage” if permits leave New Bedford. Governor Charlie Baker asked that the permits at least stay in Massachusetts. click here to read the story 07:16

‘Codfather’s’ fraud leaves New Bedford fishing permits on ice, and lot of people out of work

South Coast officials and seafood industry interests were stunned by Monday’s federal decision to shut down a sector with ties to disgraced fishing magnate Carlos Rafael, a decision they say will cut into the livelihoods of fishermen during the holiday season and beyond. “The ruling itself was unexpected,” said Andrew Saunders, a New Bedford attorney retained two months ago by Northeast Fishery Sector 9, one of 19 non-profit entities set up to manage fishing industry operations in the face of strict catch limits imposed by the federal government.,, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell says there’s collateral damage involved for people in the New Bedford area whose jobs are tethered to the harvesting of groundfish such as cod, flounder and haddock. click here to read the story 10:48

Don Cuddy: There’s profit for New Bedford in processing all of the fish

On September 21, New Bedford officially joined the Icelandic Ocean Cluster, a business incubator in Reykjavik, focused on fostering innovation in ocean-related industries. The cluster, which focuses on marine biotechnology, aims to demonstrate that the seafood industry can extract more value from its fisheries as part of this network. The bottom line is getting people to look at organic waste as a product that has value and not simply as waste. Mayor Jon Mitchell signed the agreement with Thor Sigfusson, the main man from Iceland, at a ceremony held at the Whaling Museum. click here to read the story 08:27

SMAST East opening draws interest nationally

The official opening of the second SMAST facility created ripple effects beyond its location on South Rodney French Boulevard. Construction crews erected SMAST East at a cost of $55 million. The names on the guest list, which packed into the first floor of the 64,000 square foot building Friday, displayed its incalculable value to the SouthCoast. From the political arena, Cong. Bill Keating, Sen. Mark Montigny, Rep. Antonio Cabral and Mayor Jon Mitchell addressed the crowd at the ribbon cutting ceremony. NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator and former New Bedford Mayor John Bullard and former dean of SMAST Brian Rothschild sat in attendance. Eastern Fisheries President Roy Enoksen and Executive Director of New Bedford Seafood Consulting Jim Kendall each listened to the 90-minute presentation that ended with a ribbon cutting. click here to read the story 09:34

New Bedford launches seafood branding campaign and website

For generations New Bedford fishermen withstood the elements to do their jobs. Through rain storms they fished. In choppy waters they fished. Against harsh winds they fished. So it was fitting that the unveiling of the city’s newly-created seafood brand was delivered in the rain at the Custom House Square in downtown New Bedford Thursday evening. “We are the biggest, the baddest, the most comprehensive fishing port in America,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said. “We are going to scream from the mountain tops that we are the biggest fishing port in America. We are a real seaport and real fishing port. We want everyone to know that.” click here to read the story, click here to visit www.NewBedfordSeafood.org 09:31

Court documents suggest Carlos Rafael may sell all permits

Documents filed in U.S. District Court on Thursday suggest that Carlos Rafael’s time as the New Bedford’s “codfather” may be coming to an end. As part of a motion requesting a sentencing delay, Rafael’s attorney sought “additional time to resolve a critical component” in the case, specifically, “the possibility of a global settlement, which may involve Mr. Rafael exiting the commercial fishing business.”The request suggests not only the 13 permits subject to forfeiture, but all of Rafael’s fishing permits may wind up with someone else before the sentencing. click here to read the story 21:23

Loss of ‘Codfather’ permits could hurt New Bedford

By late morning just before Easter weekend, three fishing vessels lined up at the docks to unload their catch, and they all belonged to one man — the local mogul known as the “Codfather,” Carlos Rafael. “It’s a good haul,” a passing auction worker at the Whaling City Seafood Display Auction said under her breath, as crew members, some still in their orange waterproof bibs, unloaded the ice-packed fish. But now, Rafael’s recent conviction on federal charges that he cheated fishing regulations to boost his profits is putting his many vessels and permits up for grabs — potentially distributing them to ports along the New England coast. That would deliver an economic blow to New Bedford and the people who depend on the business created by Rafael’s fleet. If his permits are seized as expected, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the regulatory agency known as NOAA, could reissue the permits to fishermen elsewhere in the region. “There are a lot more innocent people who could get punished by this,” said Jim Kendall, a former fisherman who runs New Bedford Seafood Consulting. click here to read the story 09:00

Carlos Rafael’s guilty plea in federal court draws mixed reactions

There was a mixture of emotions and reactions among members of the local fishing industry over the guilty plea Carlos that “The Codfather” Rafael entered in Federal Court Thursday. Some expressed a certain amount of sympathy for Rafael in the highly regulated business. Some didn’t. This doesn’t come as a surprise,” said Mayor Jon Mitchell. Ever since Carlos’ arrest became public it was clear the government had him dead to rights.” “The more important question is what will happen to the permits. That determination has been left up to NOAA. Jim Kendall, president of New Bedford Seafood Consulting, had the same concern about the permits. He noted that other boat owners have been stripped of their permits. “But I am not sure that it means anything for us,” he said. Read the story here 18:18

Mitchell set to testify to Congress about impact of marine monument this morning

Weather permitting, Mayor Jon Mitchell on Wednesday will be in Washington giving testimony to Congress about an underwater marine monument which former President Obama created with a stroke of the pen in 2016 over the protests of the fishing community. The spans nearly 5,000 square miles 150 miles off Cape Cod, and it was hailed by environmentalists for preserving enormous underwater mountains and vast, deep canyons only now being explored. Three years earlier, an underwater remotely-operated vehicle sent back pictures of incredible life forms and geological features. The NRDC was among the leaders of many organizations that jumped at the opportunity to preserve the monument against human activity, fishing in particular. read the rest here 07:18

Mayor Jon Mitchell: Rafael arrest not the end of New Bedford fishing industry

Mayor Jon Mitchell said he does not believe that Carlos Rafael’s arrest for conspiracy and falsifying records to skirt federal fishing quotas will result in the demise of New Bedford’s fishing industry. “I’ve heard a lot of talk that this is the death of fishing in New Bedford but I think that is wildly speculative and way overstated,” Mitchell said Monday. “This is not going to shake out in weeks, but years.” Mitchell said that the fate of New Bedford’s fishing industry will be in fuller focus after the criminal case against Rafael is decided. Former Mayor Scott Lang said that Rafael’s practices are not at all reflective of the many smaller fishing operations in the area and praised the efforts the region’s fishermen who have complied with what he described as two decades of challenging regulations. Read the rest here 08:19

Fishing mogul’s arrest ripples across New Bedford waterfront – What about the quota?

AR-160229553.jpg&MaxW=315&MaxH=315Frustration and sadness moved across the waterfront Friday as news spread that Carlos Rafael and his bookkeeper had been arrested by the Justice Department and charged with making false filings to the government as a means of skirting fisheries laws. One waterfront business manager who did not wish to be identified said that Friday was a “sad day” for the fishing industry, one that is going to hurt in a lot of ways. Seafood consultant James Kendall said he is worried about the effect Rafael’s arrest is going to have on the reputation of the city and its important fishing industry. Mayor Jon Mitchell, a former federal prosecutor, said he had read the affidavit from an undercover agent on the case. “Based on my experience if the allegations are true, then he’s going to federal prison for a long time,” he said. Read the rest here 08:23

Mayor Jon Mitchell: New Bedford would be great home for Northeast Fisheries Science Center

If NOAA Fisheries should decide to move the Northeast Fisheries Science Center out of Woods Hole, Mayor Jon Mitchell said New Bedford would be just right for a new home. Mitchell calls the city “the best place in the Northeast by far.” For about a year, the Commerce Department, which contains NOAA, has been assessing the adequacy and the condition of the various buildings that constitute the laboratory. NOAA spokeswoman Teri Frady said repairs, renovations or replacement are all possible options and any definitive direction is still a long way off. Read the article here 08:00

Fishery disaster relief a difficult effort – A Story of the Have’s, and the Have Not’s

sct logoFormer Mayor Scott Lang, who criticized NOAA for setting up a slow process, said the aid plan is becoming “a Christmas tree, trying to do too much with too little for too many people.” “Only 100 or so permit holders of the approximately 700 federal groundfish permit holders in Massachusetts would receive direct federal assistance,” Keating wrote. “The plan also neglects the crew members and supporting shoreside industries who continue to struggle to stay financially solvent as a result of the groundfish disaster.” What a mess! Read more here 07:42