U.S. fisheries are among the most sustainable in the world. That achievement is based on dynamic management and by honest fishermen following the rules. Today’s settlement of the government’s civil case against Carlos Rafael accomplishes NOAA’s chief objective of permanently removing Mr. Rafael from participation in federal fisheries. The settlement also clears the way for Mr. Rafael’s fishing assets that have been tied up in this litigation to be returned to productive use. Mr. Rafael’s forced divestiture and permanent ban from commercial fishing is a fitting end to this case, on top of the criminal sentence he is already serving. This settlement also holds accountable the vessel captains who now face suspensions, probationary periods, additional monitoring and reporting requirements, and the threat of a lifetime ban from the industry if they intentionally violate federal fisheries regulations again. It also serves as a reminder that no one is exempt from the rules.
Agency Statement on Carlos Rafael Civil Case
Statement from Chris Oliver, Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, on the settlement of the government’s civil case against Carlos Rafael and his fishing captains.