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22 fishing boats pulled off water in federal crackdown on Codfather fraud racket

Federal regulators effectively pulled 22 active commercial fishing boats off Northeastern waters Monday after determining many of the vessels -- a good deal owned by "Codfather" Carlos Rafael -- were failing to accurately record catches.  The ruling, deemed "huge" and "unprecedented" by The Boston Globe, could hamstring many businesses in the Massachusetts fishing industry, in particular icehouses, fuel companies and others that supply boats. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's regional administrator John Bullard said that Northeast Fishery Sector Nine failed to accurately enforce fishing quotas on cod, haddock, flounder and other bottom-dwelling species.Federal authorities say Rafael falsely claimed his vessels caught haddock or pollock, when they had actually caught other species subject to stricter quotas, like cod. He then sold the fish for cash, some of which was smuggled overseas.Rafael, 65, who himself used to serve as president of Northeast Fishery Sector Nine, owns a groundfishing fleet to rival any in the nation. His alleged fraud may still result in additional NOAA penalties including the seizure of his vessels in relation to ongoing civil proceedings being pursued by the government. 

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Mass Live