(BOSTON – September 25, 2017) The following is a statement from Johanna Thomas, New England Regional Director for Environmental Defense Fund’s Oceans Program, following today’s sentencing of Carlos Rafael:
“Today’s sentencing of Carlos Rafael is an important step forward for the New England fishery. While the issue of forfeiture still must be resolved, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for NOAA to use millions of dollars of Carlos Rafael’s assets to fund electronic monitoring for the New England groundfish fleet – a move that would save fishermen money while protecting fish and fishermen from similar crimes in the future. The best form of justice for Rafael’s wrongdoing is to use his illegally gotten gains to help the victims of his crimes.
“We encourage NOAA to dedicate any potential fines or funds from Carlos’ seized assets to help fishermen and fish. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, key legislative leaders and environmental and fishing industry organizations from across New England have repeatedly made it clear they support the use of this money for monitoring the fishery. Monitoring is the most important fix to get the fishery on a path of recovery and profitability.”
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