Canada is investigating U.S. Border Patrol's maritime immigration checks

Machias Seal Island

He has also bolstered border security in the northern frontier with Canada, and the American Civil Liberties Union said USA police had been setting up more checkpoints on roads leading to the Canadian border to check people's citizenship.

"It's a pretty significant area", said Geoff Irvine, executive director of the Lobster Council of Canada.

A former American diplomat to Canada says the episodes late last month underscore the need for the two countries to settle their quarrel over the so-called "grey zone" surrounding the island before it erupts into violence.

Global Affairs Canada, the equivalent of the State Department in the US, told the CBC that it has confirmed at least two incidents in which Customs and Border Patrol agents had questioned Canadian fishermen off the island.

But a succession of border accords from the 1783 Treaty of Peace - between the newly independent United States and Britain - up to a 1984 International Court of Justice case failed to resolve the fate of Machias Seal Island and its waters.

The alleged incident happened on 24 July near Machias Seal Island.

Trudeau has also been critical of the White House's hardline "zero tolerance" immigration policies and the consequent result of family separations at the border, saying that it's "not the way we do things in Canada".

None of those interventions resulted in any immigration arrests, she said, adding that the patrol also participated in two sea rescues.

"Canadian fishermen are being harassed by US Border Patrol". The result, he claimed, is a virtual fishing free-for-all that Drouin suspects is meant to push Canadian dominance in the zone.

The group said it's working with the Canadian government to ensure their members can continue to use the fishery in a "normal manner", noting that they have previously enjoyed a "respectful and cordial" relationship with their American counterparts.

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.

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Laurence Cook, chairman of the fishermen's association, wrote on Facebook that the fisherman, Nick Brown, informed US Border Patrol Agents he was in a Canadian vessel legally fishing in Canadian waters. Canadian fishermen are being "harassed", he charged.

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

"Typical American bullies", he wrote in the June 25 post.

"A lot of people are a lot more anxious about USA power on Canadian soil or in Canadian waterways", she said.

The suggestion that the border agents were looking for illegal immigrants seems improbable, he said. Machias Seal Island lies between a grey area in the Canadian and American border which the US has recently begun monitoring more closely.

"I asked him what they're up to and they said, 'We're just documenting who's in the area, ' " recalled Drouin.

But Drouin said the bigger issue is Canadian use of the zone.

The Americans do not have closed seasons, but manage the resources through stricter limits on the size of lobster they can catch, said Drouin.

The boats were stopped while fishing near Machias Seal Island, an area where both the United States and Canada claim jurisdiction.

"We're being used as pawns; we're being pitted against each other".

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