New Bedford company Blue Harvest Fisheries is making good on its commitment to the fishing community in getting fishing vessels formerly owned by ‘Codfather’ Carlos Rafael back to sea.
Back in February Blue Harvest acquired twelve fishing vessels and 27 permits from the Rafael family, and the second of three refitted vessels is now ready for sea. The 78-foot Carrabassett, formerly Cowboy, is now ready to return to fishing, following the 83-foot Allagash (ex-Southern Crusader II) which was returned to fishing in July.
Next up is the 85-foot Schelvis, which previously sailed as Glaucus, due back to sea this autumn.
‘We promised when we acquired these vessels that we would be keeping them in New Bedford, and that we would be investing in this city’s historic fishing industry. Those weren’t just words to us,’ said Keith Decker, President and CEO of Blue Harvest.
‘We’re proud of the improvements we’ve made to these vessels, which will provide good jobs here in New Bedford, and high-quality seafood around the country.’
All three have been repainted in Blue Harvest’s colour scheme, replacing the Codfather green, as well as being fitted out with improved catch handling systems, updated wheelhouse electronics and new fishing gear. Schelvis is also being outfitted with chiller tanks with the expectation that holding catches in superchilled water will improve freshness and extend shelf life.
‘Blue Harvest’s groundfish fleet targets some of the healthiest fish stocks in US waters, including haddock, ocean perch, and Atlantic pollock, which have all been underfished in recent years. The launch of these refitted vessels will help us meet demand for these underutilised and sustainable species,’ Keith Decker said.
Blue Harvest Fisheries operates its own fleet of 15 scallop and nine groundfish vessels as well as offload facilities in Newport News, VA and Fairhaven, MA, and an SQF certified waterfront manufacturing facility in New Bedford, MA.