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As tensions acceleration amid the United States and Canada, there’s a new affray in the air-conditioned amnion off the northeast tip of Maine, which are affluent with lobster, scallops and cod.
For added than a decade, American and Canadian fishermen abundantly accept had a affable but aggressive accord in an oval-shaped arena of the Bay of Fundy accepted as the gray zone. But this summer that brotherhood has been threatened, Canadian fishermen claim, as admiral with the United States Bound Convoying accept started to attack into the area, cull up at their argosy and ask about their citizenship.
“We don’t ap this to be a abundant all-emcing incident, but it’s affectionate of curious,” said Laurence Cook, the administrator of the lobster lath at the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association in New Brunswick. “They say it’s accepted patrolling, but it is the aboriginal accepted patrolling in 25 years.”
At atomic 10 Canadian fishing boats accept been chock-full by American clearing authorities aural the accomplished two weeks, Mr. Cook said, the latest accretion in a added than 300-year altercation amid the countries in the acknowledged amnion off Machias Seal Island. Both countries affirmation the island, which is about 10 afar off Maine and home to two full-time ociation (both Canadian), puffins, rocks and not abundant else, and say they accept the appropriate to convoying its boundaries.
Canada has responded with its own appearance of force. Last Sunday and Monday, afterwards the aboriginal letters alike about the Bound Convoying operations, a almost 100-foot-long Canadian Bank Guard barge appeared in the acknowledged gray breadth and began patrolling the area.
“That wasn’t coincidence,” Mr. Cook said.
The ambit of the Bound Convoying activity, as able-bodied as what motivated it and what, if anything, it has uncovered, is not clear. The bureau has not appear how abounding stops accept been made. But both Canadian and American fishermen said they noticed added action in harbors and in the Atlantic in aboriginal June.
The clash, which has bent the absorption of Canadian leaders, has taken on added significance, advancing aloof weeks afterwards President Trump took departing ss at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau back he larboard the Group of 7 acme affair in Quebec.
Canada’s adopted diplomacy administration said that it had heard about two stops in backward June involving Bound Convoying admiral and had asked the United States government for an explanation.
“Canada continues to investigate these incidents that occurred in Canadian waters,” said John Bab, a agent for Global Diplomacy Canada. “Canada’s ascendancy over the Machias Seal Island and the surrounding amnion is longstanding and has a able foundation in all-emcing law.”
The State Administration did not acknowledge to a appeal for comment. The Bound Convoying declared the encounters in the Atlantic as “regular convoying operations to accomplish clearing laws.”
“The U.S. Bound Convoying does not lath Canadian argosy in the gray breadth after accord or apparent cause, and agents alone conduct interviews as a barge runs alongside to it,” said Stephanie Malin, a backer for Customs and Bound Protection, which operates the bound agency.
Mr. Cook said that he heard from baiter captains that the Bound Convoying had searched at atomic two Canadian argosy in June. No one was arrested and annihilation was confied, he said.
“There is no actionable clearing action on there,” he said. “It seems silly.”
While the aggregate of the Bound Patrol’s operations focus on the United States’ southern border, the bureau maintains a bashful attendance at the arctic bound with Canada. One of its aboriginal outposts is in Houlton, Me., the ysis igned to patrolling the state’s boundaries with Quebec and New Brunswick, administering checkpoints on highways and canoeing the coastline.
The arena is not absolutely a axis of action for the Bound Patrol. Of the 310,500 apprehensions the bureau conducted from abatement 2016 to abatement 2017, alone 30 were fabricated by admiral in the Houlton office. But those admiral accept been spotted on boats at a college amount this summer, fishermen said.
“I wouldn’t alarm it aberrant or say that the fishermen were hared,” said John Drouin, 53, a affiliate of the Maine Lobster Advisory Council who lives in the littoral boondocks of Cutler, about 10 afar from Machias Seal Island. “They accept had a able attendance in the breadth for a acceptable solid month. It wasn’t aloof in the gray zone.”
Mr. Drouin said he was chock-full about two weeks ago, back a almost 20-foot-long Bound Convoying baiter pulled beside him in the Cutler Harbor. The agents did not lath his boat.
“The convoying access them aloof as they do me,” Mr. Drouin, who catches tens of bags of pounds of lobster annually, said about his adolescent fishermen from Canada. “They ask what your citizenship is and ask for your name and stuff.”
Chris Mills, a above lightkeeper in the Canadian Bank Guard, said he never saw a Bound Convoying baiter or a United States aggressive barge canyon by back he formed at the Machias Seal Island Lighthouse in 1991 and 1992. He said he begin the Bound Convoying operation “entirely farcical.”