It turns out that the New Bedford, Massachusetts, commercial scallop fisherman who was forced to give up the 881-pound bluefin tuna he accidentally caught in a net last week has a history of fisheries violations.
In November and August, 2011, Carlos Rafael, an influential New Bedford businessman and New England fisheries industry leader, was busted for having hidden compartments on 2 of his vessels. The Coast Guard estimated that just one of the boats could have illegally generated $3 million this year in illegal scallops.
Raphael owns New Bedford’s largest fleet, estimated at more than 2 dozen active groundfish and scallop boats. He also serves on the board of the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition.