Fishing group led by ‘Codfather’ shut down by government

FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2014, file photo, Carlos Rafael talks on the phone at Homer's Wharf near his herring boat F/V Voyager in New Bedford, Mass. The U.S. fishing magnate known as "The Codfather" who pleaded guilty to evading fishing quotas and smuggling money to Portugal is set to be sentenced begining in Boston’s federal court on Monday, Sept. 25, 2017. (John Sladewski/Standard Times via AP, File)

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — The federal government says a group of commercial fishing operations dominated by a magnate known as “The Codfather” will be shut down for the rest of the season.

Carlos Rafael pleaded guilty to smuggling money to Portugal and evading fishing quotas. In September, he was sentenced to nearly four years in prison.

Rafael was the key figure behind a fishing group called Northeast Fishery Sector IX by the federal government. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Monday that it has withdrawn approval of the sector’s operation plans for the rest of this year and next.

The decision means vessels in the group that are currently at sea must return to port immediately. The agency says the sector and its members haven’t complied with requirements of their operations plan.