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Fishing mogul released on $1 million bond

A New Bedford-based fishing mogul was released on $1 million bond Wednesday pending his federal trial on accusations that he skirted federal fishing regulations.

Prosecutors had sought to keep Carlos Rafael, the owner of Carlos Seafood Inc., detained until his trial in federal court in Boston, calling him a flight risk. Rafael had been in custody since his arrest Friday morning.

But US Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy agreed to release Rafael, 64, on the following conditions: He must post $1 million bond secured by his private property in Dartmouth and New Bedford; he cannot travel outside Massachusetts; he must abide by a curfew of 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Rafael must maintain his residence in North Dartmouth.


Authorities said Rafael, who owns more than 40 fishing vessels ported in New Bedford and Gloucester, developed a lucrative scheme to cheat the federal fishing quotas that were enacted to protect the sustainability of certain fish species.

Rafael allegedly told his boat captains to label fish they hauled in as a common species such as haddock that they were allowed to fish without violating a quota. In reality, his fishermen would bring in fish that were restricted by a quota, such as pollock. His company would then buy the fish at the lower price of haddock, but sell it for cash at its higher market price to a New York buyer.

Rafael faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Milton J. Valencia can be reached at milton.valencia @globe.com.