Fed seizure of accounts closes Gloucester’s Cape Ann Seafood Exchange
The Cape Ann Seafood Exchange in Gloucester, Massachusetts, U.S.A., has been closed in the wake of the U.S. Labor Department seizing all the bank accounts of the auction, leaving it unable to pay fishermen for landed fish.
The auction, owned by Kristian Kristensen, had its accounts seized on 17 August and quickly began running into financial trouble as a result. The seizure was related to a civil action filed by then-Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez to recover more than USD 200,000 (EUR 170,691) in unpaid back wages.
"I didn't put the pieces together until Saturday," Kristensen told the Gloucester Daily Times. "That's when I knew it was the Department of Labor."
He also told the paper that he has paid the back wages, but still owes USD 240,000 (EUR 204,722) to the labor department.
With the auction closed, fishermen are bringing their catch to nearby seafood wholesalers Ocean Crest and Fisherman’s Wharf instead.
According to the Gloucester Daily Times, Kristensen said a long-term shutdown would have “catastrophic implications for the auction,” leading to layoffs and its potential permanent closure.
This isn’t the first financial trouble that the Cape Ann Seafood Exchange has run into this year. In January 2018, the auction sued a local vessel owner, alleging that he had failed to repay USD 710,000 (EUR 605,768) in loans, according to The Salem News.
The suit alleged that Giuseppe “Joe” DiMaio failed to repay the loans and also breached an agreement that in exchange for the loans all fish landed would be sold to the Cape Ann Seafood Exchange.
Photo courtesy of Cape Ann Seafood Exchange