The U.S. Refuses To Stop Invading Canadian Waters

Machias Seal Island is roughly 19 kilometres southwest of Grand Manan and 16 kilometres from the coast of Maine

Machias Seal Island is roughly 19 kilometres southwest of Grand Manan and 16 kilometres from the coast of Maine

The Canadian government is investigating reports that US Border Patrol vessels have been stopping and boarding Canadian fishing boats in disputed waters to inquire about unauthorized immigrants - a move that stoked outrage among local fishermen who say the US is pushing Canadians around.

"They claim to be looking for illegal immigrants", said Cook in his Facebook posting.

The CBC reported Wednesday that the encounters occurred on June 24 and 25 in a so-called "grey zone" around Machias Seal Island and North Rock between the Gulf of ME and the Bay of Fundy.

The ships were intercepted while fishing around the Machias Seal Island, an area between the Gulf of ME and the Bay of Fundy that has been disputed between the two North American neighbors for centuries.

Spokesman John Babcock said the Canadian government is also talking with USA agencies, though he did not provide details about the fishermen's allegations or Ottawa's response.

The organisation said they were told that U.S. border agents approached Canadian fishing vessels as part "of a regular exercise being conducted along the U.S. marine border".

On July 4th, the Grand Manan Fisherman's Association released a statement about the issue on social media, saying that the waters are Canadian and that the organization is working with the government to make sure the fishermen can continue business as normal.

A Customs and Border Protection spokeswoman told the BBC that US Border Patrol was "conducting regular patrol operation to enforce immigration laws and other violations of federal law that they may encounter in the course of their duties" during June.

The boats were stopped while fishing near Machias Seal Island, an area where both the United States and Canada claim jurisdiction.

She referred further questions to the U.S. State Department, which had no immediate response.

As tensions rise between the United States and Canada, there is a new clash in the cool waters off the northeast tip of ME, which are rich with lobster, scallops and cod.

But Drouin said he is among many American fishermen also stopped by the border patrol in May and June.

Like previously stated the island is in a grey area of the border but both Canadian and American fishermen work around the island.

A representative for the association did not respond to an interview request Thursday.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent looks over Lake Erie near the U.S.

"I wouldn't call it unprecedented or say that the fishermen were harassed", said John Drouin, 53, a member of the Maine Lobster Advisory Council who lives in the coastal town of Cutler, about 10 miles from Machias Seal Island.

"Until the matter of the boundary is resolved, we will continue to take practical steps with the USA to ensure that the area is well managed", Babcock said.

Drouin said his two sons were also recently stopped when they were fishing in the contentious area around Machias Seal Island, which is about 19 kilometres southwest of Grand Manan Island and east of Maine. Tension over fishing rights in the area can get heated when the price of lobster is high, leading to threats and accusations of line-cutting and other sabotage. But both Canadian and American fishermen said they noticed increased activity in harbors and in the Atlantic in early June. Additionally, Malin said that Border Patrol agents would not board any vessel without permission or probable cause.

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