American border patrol agents stopping and boarding Canadian vessels: spokesman

07 Juillet, 2018, 16:10 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • Machias Seal Island

-Canada border on June 3, 2013 in Buffalo, New York.

The reports have thrust a longstanding territorial dispute between the two countries into the spotlight; since the late 1700s tensions have simmered over a pair of tiny, treeless islands that sit between ME and the Canadian province of New Brunswick.

"He informed them he was a Canadian vessel legally fishing in Canadian waters".

Canada is investigating at least two incidents in which two Canadian fishing vessels were reportedly stopped and questioned by U.S. Border Patrol agents in disputed waters off ME, a spokesman for the country's foreign affairs department confirmed Thursday.

On 4 July, the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association released a statement saying that both Americans and Canadians have jointly fished the 165 sq km (63 sq mile) area surrounding the island for years and have a "respectful and cordial" relationship. Both countries have claimed sovereign jurisdiction over the island and historically American and Canadian fisherman have worked in the contested waters side by side. Fishermen from both countries compete with each another in the lobster-rich waters.

"Typical American bullies", Cook wrote in a Facebook post.

The decision to enforce American immigration rules in the area effectively denies the strong Canadian claim to the islands and waters.

Malin noted that Houlton Sector Border Patrol, which patrols the entire state of ME, will continue to conduct operations in the US waters off the state's coast. They're also doing so on the water.

John Babcock, a spokesman for Global Affairs Canada, said in a statement Thursday that the stops occurred in Canadian waters.

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The Grey Zone consists of about 700 square kilometres of lucrative lobster waters surrounding Machias Seal Island, and has been claimed by both Canada and the USA for decades.

Visitors head to Machias Seal Island on Friday, June 24, 2016.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the Border Patrol, confirmed the encounters but said they were routine and suggested that agents did not board the boats but rather adjoined them so agents could ask questions.

CBP added that it doesn't board Canadian boats - instead, it "only conducts interviews as a vessel runs parallel to it, bow to stern".

Despite their governments' debate, Canadian and American fishermen typically coexist in this area relatively peacefully - with a few notable exceptions.

The Border Patrol operations came to light this week, when fishermen from New Brunswick's Grand Manan Island told news organizations they had been stopped in Canadian waters by U.S. Border Patrol and questioned about illegal immigrants. "It's quite disturbing when you have fishermen on the water, doing their job, providing for their families ... and they're being harassed", he said. This is due to the Canadian Coast Guard taking shifts to spend 28 days on the island at a time for regular maintenance and management of the lighthouse.

Trump has made cracking down on illegal immigration a cornerstone of his administration, and his now-abandoned "zero tolerance" practice of separating migrant parents from their children at the Mexican border triggered global condemnation.

"A lot of people are a lot more anxious about USA power on Canadian soil or in Canadian waterways", she said. When the Trump administration recently announced tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded that tariffs marked a negative "turning point" in U.S./Canadian relations.

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