CAPE COD – A man caught a giant bluefin tuna and five hours later, the U.S. Government seized it because of a regulation violation.
Carlos Rafael isn’t happy. He caught the tuna of his life and then the feds came in and took it. He is also going to serve jail time in a federal penitentiary.
Rafael captured a giant bluefin tuna in the waters near Cape Cod and hoped to the sell the fish and net about $396,000, which is what a 745-pound tuna specimen sold for at an auction in Tokyo back in January.
Rafael’s catch was 881 pounds.
But Rafael received a rude awakening when his boat sought shelter in Provincetown Harbor on November 12
“The authorities were waiting. Agents from the Department of Homeland Security informed him they were confiscating his fish — all 881 pounds of it.
Even though the catch had been declared and the boat had a tuna permit, the rules do not allow fishermen to catch bluefin tuna in a net.
‘They said it had to be caught with rod and reel,’ a frustrated Rafael said. ‘We didn’t try to hide anything. We did everything by the book. Nobody ever told me we couldn’t catch it with a net.”
In any case, after being towed for more than two hours in the net, the fish was already dead when the Apollo hauled back its gear, he said.”
Rafael told the Times that he purchased 15 tuna permits for his groundfish boats over the last four years and immediately called a bluefin tuna hot line maintained by fishery regulators to report the catch when it happened. Rafael’s crew had unwittingly captured the giant tuna in their trawl gear rather than rod and reel.
“What are we supposed to do?” Rafael told the Times. “I think I’m going to surrender all my tuna permits now. What good are they if I can’t catch them?”
A representative for the Obama Administration said the fish has been forfeited and will be sold on consignment overseas. Proceeds from the sale of the fish will give to President Obama’s re-election campaign.
A least Carlos was allowed one phone call before being taken to jail.
Take a look at this video from just last year. Carlos wasn’t happy with the feds even then.