A judge Wednesday approved a new venture’s $12 million offer to buy eight vessels and 48 federal and state fishing permits from bankrupt Blue Harvest Fisheries.

C&P Trawlers, a Massachusetts limited liability corporation by Cassie Canastra of New Bedford, Mass. and Charles "Butch" Payne of Montauk, N.Y., won approval of the deal from federal District Court Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein who is overseeing Blue Harvests’ Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings in Delaware, according to a statement from C&P Trawlers.

Canastra, now manager of C&P Trawlers, has been director of operations at the Whaling City auction Buyers and Sellers Exchange (BASE) which her family has operated for 29 years. Payne owns vessels based in Montauk that fish for New England species including squid and whiting.

Blue Harvest’s sudden declaration of bankruptcy shook the groundfish industry and New Bedford, where Blue Harvest had acquired many local vessels and promised a revitalization of the groundfish business. Local business and political leaders have long feared a loss of vessels and permits from the port.

The C&P partners outbid a second-highest offer, from the fishing industry heavyweight O'Hara Corporation, by $750,000 the New Bedford Light reported.

“As is well known, I grew up in a fishing family, and started attending the daily auctions when I was six years old,” Canastra said in a prepared statement. “To be able to return to New Bedford after college and join my family in the seafood industry was the fulfillment of a childhood dream.  It was an honor last January, after nine years, to assume the role as leader of all of our seafood corporations on day-to-day basis.”

“As the manager of C&P Trawlers, I was delighted to learn that C&P submitted the winning bid in the auction to acquire the vessels and permits previously owned by Blue Harvest Fisheries,” she said. “Butch and I look forward to operating those vessels from the Port of New Bedford.”

According to the partners other members of Canastra’s family who are participants in other Canastra family businesses are not involved with C&P Trawlers.

Canastra was named 2018 South Coast Woman of the Year by the New Bedford Standard-Times for her dedication to the region’s fishing industry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the College of the Holy Cross, and a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) from the UMass Dartmouth’s School for Marine Science & Technology.


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