The Canadian government is investigating reports that US Border Patrol vessels have been stopping and boarding Canadian fishing boats in disputed waters to inquire about unauthorized immigrants - a move that stoked outrage among local fishermen who say the US is pushing Canadians around.
"Canada continues to investigate these incidents that occurred in Canadian waters, including through engaging with US agencies involved in the matter", she said.
The location is shelter for Machias Seal Island and indicates one of the finally remained border disputes between the USA and Canada, on account of contending stipulations spread out by land grants and treaties.
According to a statement from the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association obtained by CBC News, the association said it believed the situation was part of a "regular exercise being conducted along the USA marine border".
John Drouin of Cutler, Maine, said Friday that he was out about two weeks ago when USA patrol agents came alongside his boat in the so-called Grey Zone to him to ask where he was from and to see his paperwork.
"Canada's sovereignty over the Machias Seal Island and the surrounding waters is long standing and has a strong foundation in global law", he said. As well, the group suggested the actions of the USA agents may have been routine.
"It's just a small part of a huge sea change in the way Canada is interacting with the US and vice versa, especially with the trade issue", Mills said.
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"Canadian fishermen are being harassed by US Border Patrol".
The stops have been inconvenient, but he doesn't feel harassed, Drouin added.
In a written statement, the fisherman's association said American and Canadian fishermen have jointly fished the 102-square mile area for years.
Global Affairs Canada says it's looking into the incidents, stressing that it considers the rich lobster-fishing grounds to be sovereign Canadian territory - a position mirrored by the United States.
US officials told CBC News the agents were there to "enforce immigration laws and other violations of federal law".
The ACLU has sued Department of Homeland Security to obtain records relating to Border Patrol operations in northern New England, including bus station and highway checkpoints.
In a statement, the Association believes this was part of a regular exercise conducted by officials.
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The island's nationality has been disputed for roughly 200 years, as a series of treaties between the USA and the United Kingdom, which ruled over Canadian lands before they gained independence in 1867, never addressed which country it belong to.
A representative for the association did not respond to an interview request Thursday.
The agents were enforcing "immigration laws and other violations of federal law", she said.
"Until the matter of the boundary is resolved, we will continue to take practical steps with the USA to ensure that the area is well managed", Babcock said.
The alleged incident happened on 24 June near Machias Seal Island.
Tensions between Canada and the USA are now high over trade issues related to American tariffs on steel and aluminium and retaliatory Canadian levies; disputes over dairy, lumber, and wine; and the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
"Absolutely overkill", he said of the "disturbing" stops.
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Drouin, a member of Maine's lobster advisory council, said he witnessed three other vessels that were also stopped and questioned, and has seen several Border Patrol vessels in the area over the last month.