Tag Archives: Blue Harvest Fisheries

DOJ Digs Into “Competition Concerns” in New England Fishing Industry

The U.S. Department of Justice has begun looking at possible antitrust issues in the New England fishing industry, amid growing concern about consolidation and market dominance by private equity investors. One such firm is Blue Harvest Fisheries, which operates out of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and is the largest holder of permits to catch groundfish such as pollock, haddock and ocean perch. The investigation traced the company’s ownership to a billionaire Dutch family via a private equity firm. Over the past seven years, records show, the company has purchased the rights to catch 12% of groundfish in the region, approaching the antitrust cap of 15.5%. It further boosts its market share by leasing fishing rights from other permit owners. >click to read< 07:50

Catch Shares Enable Wealthy Landlords to Gobble Up Local Fisheries

A recent investigative report has reignited public discussion over catch shares, a controversial approach to fisheries management that privatizes the rights to fish. The investigation exposed how Blue Harvest Fisheries, owned by a billionaire Dutch family, became the largest holder of commercial fishing rights in New England, benefiting from lax antitrust regulations and pilfering profits from the local fishermen who work under them. As a commercial fisherman in Mississippi, I know these dynamics go well beyond New England. Here in the Gulf of Mexico, private equity firms and other large investors have come in and gobbled up the rights to fish, driving up the cost of fishing access and making it prohibitively expensive for fishermen like me to harvest fish in our own backyards. >click to read< 07:55

Senators Demand Federal Scrutiny of Private Equity’s Incursion Into Fishing

Three U.S. senators, including two members of a Senate subcommittee that oversees the fishing industry, are calling for greater federal scrutiny of private equity’s incursion into East Coast commercial fishing. The ProPublica/New Bedford Light investigation found that a federal regulatory system known as “catch shares,” which was adopted in 2010 to reduce overfishing, has fostered private equity’s consolidation of the industry at the expense of independent fishermen. The single largest permit holder in the New England groundfish industry is Blue Harvest Fisheries, which has rights to catch 12% of groundfish, approaching the antitrust cap of 15.5%. The current antitrust cap “fails to prevent excessive consolidation in the fishery,” said Geoff Smith, one of 18 members of the New England Fishery Management Council, which advises NOAA. >click to read< 10:23

How Foreign Private Equity Hooked New England’s Fishing Industry

Before dawn, Jerry Leeman churned through inky black waters, clutching the wheel of the fishing vessel F/V Harmony. The 85-foot trawler, deep green and speckled with rust, was returning from a grueling fishing trip deep into the Atlantic swells. Leeman and his crew of four had worked 10 consecutive days, 20 hours a day, to haul in more than 50,000 pounds of fish: pollock, haddock and ocean perch, a trio known as groundfish in the industry and as whitefish in the freezer aisle. Leeman and his crew are barely sharing in the bounty. On deck, Leeman held a one-page “settlement sheet,” the fishing industry’s version of a pay stub. Blue Harvest charges Leeman and his crew for fuel, gear, leasing of fishing rights, and maintenance on the company-owned vessel. Across six trips in the past 14 months, Leeman netted about 14 cents a pound, and the crew, about 7 cents each — a small fraction of the $2.28 per pound that a species like haddock typically fetches at auction. >Photos, click to read< 08:01

Lawsuit filed by Quinn Fisheries and Blue Harvest Fisheries against Carlos Rafael’s trustee and three arbitrators

Quinn Fisheries and Blue Harvest Fisheries filed a lawsuit last week against Carlos Rafael’s trustee and three arbitrators, alleging they are blocking a multimillion-dollar transaction of vessels and permits that was scheduled to happen April 16. The permits are for scallops and multi-species fish. The fishing seasons have already started or will soon start and because the transaction cannot be finalized, Quinn Fisheries and Blue Harvest state they will experience serious and irreparable financial harm. According to the 19-page complaint, Quinn Fisheries planned to transfer certain vessels and permits to Blue Harvest, and then purchase vessels and permits from Blue Harvest. >click to read< 11:08

Five Years After His Indictment, Carlos Rafael’s Fishing Vessels Are Part of a New Era in New Bedford

It’s been a little more than a year since this vessel was among the last big group of fishing boats sold off from the fleet of Carlos Rafael, the man known in the New Bedford fishing industry as “the Codfather.” Rafael went to prison in 2017 for dodging catch limits, smuggling profits overseas, and evading taxes. Some of his former vessels have become part of a new era on the New Bedford waterfront that started before he was indicted but has accelerated in the five years since, Blue Harvest Fisheries bought 12 of Rafael’s groundfish boats, including the Glaucus, last year. >click to read< 09:01

Blue Harvest Refitted Codfather Trawlers going into service

Blue Harvest Fisheries this week launched the Carrabassett, the second of three refitted groundfish vessels the company is putting into service this year. The 78-foot trawler was once painted “Carlos Rafael green” and emblazoned with the “CR” logo. Now it’s refurbished, repaired, upgraded, painted deep blue, and decorated with Blue Harvest’s distinctive scallop logo. Blue Harvest purchased 12 vessels and 27 fishing permits from Rafael’s family in February. Rafael, who made millions by gaming the system before he was busted by federal agents, was ordered last year by a judge to get out of the fishing business forever and divest his holdings. >click to read< 19:08

Carlos “Codfather” Rafael settlement rankles local fishermen

By the start of the new fishing year on May 1, Carlos Rafael, once owner of one of the largest fishing fleets in the country and known as the “Codfather” will officially be little more than a memory on the New Bedford waterfront. According to his attorney John Markey, Rafael will have sold off all of his fishing empire as part of a settlement agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and will be out of the fishing industry forever. >click to read< 20:32

New Bedford seafood auction stops sale of Rafael’s boats to Blue Harvest

The fate of Carlos Rafael’s groundfishing vessels is still uncertain, with companies jockeying to get their hands on what’s left of the Codfather’s fleet. According to the CEO of Blue Harvest Fisheries Keith Decker, the company signed a purchase and sale agreement for Rafael’s groundfish vessels, but the agreement was subject to a 30-day Right of First Refusal Period, allowing other members of Rafael’s former sector a chance to match or better the bid. Buyers and Sellers Exchange (BASE) exercised that right, Decker said, “We were notified by Rafael’s attorney on Friday evening.” >click to read< 22:15

Fleet of 5 Maine scallop and fishing trawlers sold to New York-based equity firm

A New York-based private equity firm will purchase a Portland scallop and groundfish supply company that manages five of the largest fishing vessels operating in Maine. Blue Harvest Fisheries, a U.S. scallop and whitefish supplier owned by equity firm Bregal Partners, will purchase Atlantic Trawlers Fishing, Undercurrent News reported. Bregal Partners is a private investment firm with $600 million of committed capital funded by a six-generation German-Dutch family. Its board of directors includes the CEO of Bumble Bee Foods, and the chief investment and strategy officer of the Central Bering Sea Fisherman’s Association, who is also on the board of American Seafoods. Atlantic Trawlers Fishing, owned by James Odlin, operates from the Portland Fish Pier and includes the fishing vessels Nobska, Morue, Harmony, Teresa Marie III and Teresa Marie IV. >click to read>16:57

Don Cuddy: Blue Harvest a major new presence among city fish houses

New Bedford is the top-grossing fishing port in the United States and has been since 1999; an enviable record and a tribute to the vision and expertise of all those involved in sustaining an industry that is constantly evolving. While industry momentum has not flagged, the players come and go as markets shift, regulations change and fish stocks rise or fall. Seafood processor Blue Harvest Fisheries is a big presence on the waterfront today yet the company was unknown in the city until relatively recently. So last week I had a chat with CEO and Acushnet native Jeff Davis, a 30-year veteran of the seafood industry, to learn more about Blue Harvest and all that they do. click here to read the story 20:06

Blue Harvest Fisheries will acquire the assets of High Liner’s scallop business along with its facility in New Bedford

4022a_image1-11Canada-listed High Liner Foods has agreed to sell its scallop business to US group Blue Harvest Fisheries. Under the terms of the deal, Blue Harvest will acquire the assets of High Liner’s scallop business, along with its facility in New Bedford, Massachusetts. High Liner will receive cash proceeds of US$8m for the business and facility, plus additional amounts for scallop inventories. High Liner said it will continue to offer scallops to its customers through a supply agreement with Blue Harvest. The transaction is expected to close within the next several weeks. High Liner had announced in February it would stop value-added fish operations at the New Bedford facility to reduce excess capacity across its production network in North America. Blue Harvest was formed last year with the acquisition of eight Virginia-based scallop vessels and related shore assets from US scallop fishing firm Peabody Corporation. Its acquisition of the High Liner asset is the third Bue Harvest has made in 2016. Read the rest here 14:20