Canada is investigating US Border Patrol's maritime immigration checks

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A Canadian fisherman's association is reporting that U.S. Border Patrol agents have stopped and questioned multiple Canadian fishermen in waters that are the subject of an ongoing territorial dispute.

Cook said the US patrol's claim to be looking for illegal immigrants was "bulls-t".

According to Global Affairs Canada, the incidents happened June 24th or 25th around Machias Seal Island and North Rock. He was stopped two weeks ago in Cutler Harbor and asked for his identification, and his son has been stopped and boarded about six miles offshore, Drouin said.

Mills told NBC, "Canada continues to investigate these incidents that occurred in Canadian waters, including through engaging with USA agencies involved in the matter". "Our understanding is that this was part of a regular exercise being conducted along the USA marine border", said the association in a statement.

Laurence Cook, chair of the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association, said on Facebook that a USA border patrol launch out of ME attempted to stop a Canadian fishing vessel in Canadian waters.

A spokesperson from the Customs and Border Protection agency commented on the incidents, saying that it is a "regular exercise being conducted along the US marine border", according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

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"Border Patrol does not board Canadian Vessels in the grey zone without consent or probable cause and only conduct (s) interviews as a vessel runs parallel to it, bow to stern", the spokesman added by email.

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

Doucet said Wednesday that the "heavily armed" Border Patrol agents were looking for undocumented immigrants, but that the fishermen were just "doing their job". Cook later said he had heard of 10 fishing boats being stopped by American agents in recent weeks.

The U.S. State Department is apparently working with Canadian counterparts to try to resolve the issue, according to Canadian press reports. The agency's authority extends to the borders of the USA, including the area around Machias Seal Island claimed by the US and Canada, she added. They declined to specify how many of these were fishing vessels.

Unlike Canada, the United States does not help maintain the island but still believes that it is their property. Both countries have claimed sovereign jurisdiction over the island and historically American and Canadian fisherman have worked in the contested waters side by side. So far, 21 Canadian vessels have been interviewed by local agents in the 2018 fiscal year, she said, with zero immigration arrests made.

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

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Drouin said the area has been "inundated" with Canadian lobster fishermen since 2002.

"I think you've got to be very careful not to extrapolate a policy concerning the Americans have expressed about other borders and simply apply that to the Grand Manan area of the Bay of Fundy in a lobster fishery involving a small group of Canadian and American fishermen".

"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.

Machias Seal Island lies between a grey area in the Canadian and American border which the U.S. has recently begun monitoring more closely.

"I'm sure from the border patrol's perspective, that's not at all what they were doing", he said, citing the American claim on the area that dates back to the late 1700s.

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