Federal agents in Massachusetts recently swooped in and confiscated a 900 pound bluefin tuna from a man who fishes for a living.  Why did they do that you ask?  It was caught in a net, instead of on a hook.


Carlos Rafael is a big player in the Massachusetts commercial fishing industry, and he couldn't believe it when he learned that one of his boats had accidentally captured a giant bluefin tuna in its trawl nets.

Rafael has permits for tuna, so he reported the catch to a federal fisheries hotline that's maintained for that purpose.  He was planning to sell the fish and it would have brought thousands of dollars, but it was not to be.

Agents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Law Enforcement met his boat at the dock in New Bedford and confiscated the tuna.  Rafael was told that federal law doesn't allow fishermen to catch bluefin tuna in a net.

In an effort to protect the dwindling population of Atlantic bluefin tuna, federal law prohibits net fishing for tuna, but allows fishing for them with rods and reels.  Rafael says he didn't know that.

In any event, ignorance of the law is not a defense, and Rafael could end up paying a stiff fine.

900 pounds is nowhere near the record size for bluefin tuna.  The world record bluefin was caught off Nova Scotia in 1979, and weighed in at 1,496 pounds.  That's a lot of tuna fish sandwiches.


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