NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) ─ Several boats once owned by disgraced fishing mogul Carlos Rafael, infamous in the region for being nicknamed the “Codfather,” will once again set sail, thanks to new management.
Blue Harvest Fisheries has bought several of the boats that became disused due to Rafael’s conviction for ignoring fishing quotas and limits, as well as smuggling profits overseas. Rafael was sentenced to four years in prison and can never run a fishing operation ever again.
The company says its acquisition will help keep locals employed on the New Bedford waterfront and maintain the tradition that made it the Whaling City for generations of fishermen.
“Our goal here is to create jobs and opportunities for New England fisheries,” Blue Harvest CEO Keith Decker said. “Everyone, in general, is very excited about what this means to the greater New Bedford area.”
Blue Harvest acquired 12 vessels and more than two dozen permits that had been part of Rafael’s fleet.
Therefore, “we need ice, we need welders and mechanics, and we need ship supplies,” Decker said, and that’s just other businesses maintaining the boats.
Blue Harvest already employs more than 400 people, and Decker said he’ll need another 100 employees by the end of the year.
“We’re in the food business. People eat food,” he said.
Since the fishing season kicks off again in May, the company is taking job applications from anyone who wants to join their crews.