NMFS issued a charging document to Carlos Rafael last week seeking additional civil penalties beyond those ordered in his criminal trial.
The document alleges 35 violations of federal fisheries regulations against Rafael, Carlos Seafoods, two of Rafael’s scallop vessel captains, and 28 separate business entities related to Rafael.
NMFS is seeking $983,528 in civil penalties from Rafael, the revocation of his seafood dealer permit, the revocation of 38 of his commercial fishing permits and the revocation of the operating permits issued to two of his scallop vessel captains, and the denial of any application by Rafael for any permit issued by NOAA under the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
According to the document, violations 21-35 involve misreporting in the scallop fishery. NMFs alleges that on four fishing trips in 2013, Rafael was behind false reports regarding the amount of scallops harvested.
In a report from SouthCoast Today, current and former fishermen were quoted as calling the reach "overkill.”
“It seems to be a much more severe penalty than the crimes called for,” said Jim Kendall, executive director of New Bedford Seafood Consulting.
“The proposed revocation of permits would bring harm to numerous individuals and businesses in the New Bedford area, and I presume there will be a settlement that ultimately doesn’t involve permit revocation,” said New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell. “Otherwise, penalties like that would be overkill by any definition.”
Rafael has 30 days to respond to NMFS' charges.