881-pound Tuna Snared By Carlos Rafael’s Crew Confiscated By Authorities (Photo)

By on Nov 23, 2011 in Animals, Business, United States, World Comments
Carlos Rafael & the 881-pound tuna
Carlos Rafael in New Bedford,
Massachusetts with an 881-pound tuna

Image Credit: NOAA/AP

NEW BEDFORD, Massachusetts – A certain Carlos Rafael, owner of a fishing boat in Massachusetts was frustrated when agents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement informed him they were confiscating the 881-pound tuna that his crew unwittingly captured.

Reports said that Rafael’s crew set a net to catch bottom-dwelling fish when the tuna was accidentally caught. He immediately called a bluefin tuna hot line maintained by fishery regulators to report the catch. However, Federal fishery enforcement agents confiscated the fish when the crew returned to port on November 12, 2011.

Rafael is a big player in their local fishing industry and have purchased 15 tuna permits for his groundfish boats. However, even if he declared the catch and the boat had a tuna permit, the catch is still illegal because fishermen is not allowed to catch these fish in a net, South Coast Today reported on Saturday, November, 19, 2011.

“They said it had to be caught with rod and reel. We didn’t try to hide anything. We did everything by the book. Nobody ever told me we couldn’t catch it with a net,” Rafael was quoted saying in the report.

Meanwhile, the 881-pound tuna was said to be sold on consignment overseas and the proceeds from the sale of the fish will be held in an account pending final resolution of the case, no share of the proceeds if regulators find a violation.

“The matter is still under investigation. If it’s determined that there has been a violation, the money will go into the asset forfeiture fund,” Monica Allen, deputy director with NOAA Fisheries public affairs was quoted saying in a report.

There is no charges that have been filed yet, but Rafael will likely get a warning, according to reports.

“What are we supposed to do?” he asked. “They said they were going to give me a warning,” Rafael said. “I think I’m going to surrender all my tuna permits now. What good are they if I can’t catch them?” Rafael said in a report.



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