Regulators steal fisherman of his 900-pound catch
Carlos Rafael of New Bedford, Massachusetts says there is something fishy with the way the US government regulates his job.
Rafael is a professional fisherman — or at least was — but is thinking of jumping ship after authorities told him to toss back the big one.
Rafael was recently out on his boat when his crew inadvertently snared an 881-pound tuna using a fishing net. It doesn’t take a marine biologist to know that that’s a pretty big fish, and at a near-record weight like that, Rafael stood to make around $400,000 off the beast’s meat.
In America, however, it isn’t always that easy.
Yes, Rafael had a permit — after all, he’s a professional. The fisherman had in fact purchased 15 tunas in the last four years, reports The Standard-Times. Those accreditations don’t apply to nets, however, says US regulators, so because Rafael didn’t use a rod and reel to land his catch, they scooped up the tuna and will keep the cash.
When the fisherman caught the fella, he called up a bluefin tuna telephone number maintained by fishery regulators to let them know about his big catch. He figured that by alerting them immediately, he’d be able to set up a deal just as quickly. "I wanted to sell the fish while it was fresh instead of letting it age on the boat," he says. Earlier this year, a fish only slightly smaller fetched $396,000 in Japan, so Rafael was eager to get the tuna onto land and eventually into the hands (and mouths) of consumers.
When the fish made its way to the shore, however, regulators were waiting.