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A Shell Game in New Bedford?  55 Boats Scramble Out of Sector IX, Catching NOAA by Surprise

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [News analysis] by John Sackton March 29, 2018

Something fishy is going on in New Bedford (excuse the terrible pun).

On March 26, the final day for sectors to confirm their rosters and membership for the 2018 fishing season, NOAA got letters from sector VII saying that no vessels will remain in Sector VII who were there last year, and that 16 of these vessels are joining sector VIII.

Then they were told that 55 vessels from sector IX are joining sector VII, including the 4 vessels owned by Carlos Rafael that have been judged subject to forfeiture.

Meanwhile, a separate letter from sector IX said that only three vessels would remain in that sector, that it would operate solely as a lease sector and those vessels would not fish.

What is going on here?

First, all three sectors VII,VIII, and IX are New Bedford groundfish sectors approved under the Northeast Groundfish management plan.

Each year, these sectors have to submit operation plans to NOAA..

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