American border patrol agents stopping and boarding Canadian vessels: spokesman

‘Typical American bullies’: US border patrol ‘targets Canadian fishermen’ in disputed waters amid trade war

Canada investigating US Border Patrol agents boarding fishing ships looking for undocumented immigrants: report | TheHill

At least 10 Canadian fishing boats have been stopped by US immigration authorities within the past two weeks, Cook said, the latest escalation in a more than 300-year disagreement between the countries in the disputed waters off Machias Seal Island.

A statement from the association released Wednesday said the waters have been fished by both US and Canadian crews for years.

The question of jurisdiction flared up recently after the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association said a Canadian vessel had been stopped by U.S. border patrol while fishing in the waters near Machias Seal Island in late June.

She said the agency did not have statistics on how many USA vessels have been stopped in ME this year and the last five years and would not say how many vessels and personnel were involved in offshore Border Patrol operations or where precisely agents are patrolling.

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

Cook told the National Post in an interview Wednesday that at least 10 Canadian fishing boats have been intercepted by the U.S. Border Patrol in the disputed area in the past two weeks and that some of them have even been boarded by agents looking for undocumented immigrants.

The association declined to comment on the matter.

According to Babcock, "Canada's sovereignty over the Machias Seal Island and the surrounding waters is long standing and has a strong foundation in global law".

The possibility of illegal immigrants entering the USA from Canada via the Bay of Fundy is remote, according to a local immigration lawyer.

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

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The stops have been inconvenient, but he doesn't feel harassed, Drouin added.

A long determined neutral zone between Canadian and American fishermen has become the latest display of the rising tensions between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"There is no threat, there's no indication of any movement of humanity from New Brunswick or Nova Scotia through the Bay of Fundy to the United States", said Lee Cohen, an immigration and refugee lawyer who has practised in Halifax for more than 30 years. The spokesperson confirmed that the agents are enforcing "immigration laws and other violations of federal law".

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Canada's foreign affairs department said that it had heard about two stops in late June involving Border Patrol officers and had asked the US government for an explanation.

The island's nationality has been disputed for roughly 200 years, as a series of treaties between the US and the United Kingdom, which ruled over Canadian lands before they gained independence in 1867, never addressed which country it belong to.

"Is this overkill? Absolutely".

"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", Babcock said.

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

The fishermen are members of the Grand Manan Fisherman's Association. It said no arrests have been made. Resolving the dispute doesn't necessarily mean ceding the waters and island to one nation or the other, said Kelly.

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