The fisherman who had to hand over to authorities an over 800-pound Bluefin Tuna because it was caught with a net rather than rod, possibly worth $400,000, spoke with Fox & Friends Tuesday about losing the catch of a lifetime:
Carlos Rafael reveals that the captain of his vessel that stumbled upon the sea monster off the cost of Massachusetts had told National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement agents about the crew’s massive catch when they came ashore. Despite having purchased 15 tuna permits for his groundfish boats over the last four years, Rafael had to give up the “big one” because the crew had caught the fish in a net, rather than rod and reel.
“They never brought up you could only catch with a rod and reel, not with a net. Just they tell me this is the size, and time to get it in by and so forth,” Rafael told WCVB. “So we come in, and Uncle Sam gets the fish.”
Rafael explained to Fox News Tuesday that in all his years of buying tuna permits, he was never told that he could not catch the fish with a net. “The government will tell you ‘you’re supposed to know'” said Rafael, who also owns a seafood restaurant. “I’m supposed to know everything. I mean if I was to know all the laws of the land I would spend all of my time just ready every law thats been put in the books.”
As noted by The Blaze Monday, the fresh sale value of a fish of that size is not chump change. A 745-pound Bluefin Tuna sold for $396,000 at an auction in Tokyo back in January. Rafael’s catch was 881 pounds.
“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,” Rafael told the Cape Cod Times. Rafael noted that his men caught the fish in the midwater when they were setting out, and it just got corralled in the net, “That only happens once in a blue moon.”
After being towed for more than two hours in the net, the fish was already dead when the boat hauled back its gear. NOAA told the Times that the fish has been forfeited and will be sold on consignment overseas. Proceeds from the sale of the fish will be held in an account pending final resolution of the case, NOAA said.
Rafael told the Boston Globe that the fish would have sold for almost $5,000, since the fish was already dead. Rafael says he will not receive any of that money, and was given a warning by agents.
“I think I’m going to surrender all my tuna permits now,” Rafael told the Times. “What good are they if I can’t catch them?”
This whole ordeal seems to be icing on the cake for a small business owner already frustrated over the impact of governmental regulation. Rafael spoke about his frustations to South Coast Today last year: