Border Patrol operations in Down East Maine alarm Canadian fishermen

Border Patrol operations in Down East Maine alarm Canadian fishermen

Earlier this week, news broke that the United States Border Patrol has been entering Canadian waters to stop and interview fishing boats in the resource-rich Gulf of Maine.

On Wednesday, John Babcock, a spokesman for Global Affairs Canada said, "Canada continues to investigate these incidents that occurred in Canadian waters, including through engaging with US agencies involved in the matter", Reuters reported.

Fishermen from nearby Grand Manan Island recently said they were approached and questioned by USBP vessels near Machias Seal Island.

In a statement to the Guardian, US Customs and Border Protection confirmed that agents had "interviewed" 21 Canadian vessels so far this year.

Laurence Cook of the advisory board for Lobster Fishing Area 38 said some Canadian vessels were boarded by American agents who asked about possible illegal immigrants.

While entering out water may not seem like a big deal, the US agents approached the island and verified that Canadian fisherman to see if immigrants were entering the United States of America illegally.

The association declined to comment on the matter.

"Canada's sovereignty over the Machias Seal Island and the surrounding waters is long standing and has a strong foundation in worldwide law", he said.

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

The U.S. State Department did not respond to questions about U.S. territorial claims on Machais Seal Island and the Gray Zone.

According to Cohen, those seeking to cross the Canada-U.S. border illegally are usually pushing north.

Trump to OPEC: ‘Reduce pricing now!’
President Trump said on Thursday he may ultimately impose tariffs on more than a half-trillion dollars worth of Chinese goods. For many households, the gains from cuts passed a year ago have been offset by the rise in oil prices since 2016.

"If the Canadians want to use the term harass, they have been harassing us for years", Drouin said.

The group said it's working with the Canadian government to ensure their members can continue to use the fishery in a "normal manner", noting that they have previously enjoyed a "respectful and cordial" relationship with their American counterparts.

Only about 100,000 of the United States' 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants were from Canada, according to the Pew Research Center in 2014.

Border Patrol agents in northern New England apparently aren't just ramping up their immigration enforcement on land.

"There's been a bit of a misunderstanding there somewhere", Cook said Wednesday, the Star reported. The group said it's their understanding that the recent stops are part of a "regular exercise being conducted along the USA marine border", and said it looked forward to continuing a "respectful and cordial relationship" with its US counterparts.

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

The Canadian flag flutters in the breeze by the lighthouse at Machias Seal Island.

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 dispute has fueled tension between American and Canadian fishermen over the years, as the waters around the island are especially important lobstering grounds. Resolving the dispute doesn't necessarily mean ceding the waters and island to one nation or the other, said Kelly.

"Absolutely overkill", he said of the "disturbing" stops.

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