I previously told you about the ongoing border war with Canada over lobster fishing and how it seemed to be escalating. Some of the feedback I received on social media over this claim was, shall we say, “uncharitable” at best. Still, things appeared to be looking up for us, with the Coast Guard chasing the invading Canadian fleet out of our waters, increased harvests and lower lobster prices for consumers in the northeast. With all those cheerful signs to go by I concluded that we had already pretty much won the battle.
Turns out I was being overly optimistic. It’s never good enough to simply win the battle when your focus should be on winning the long war. And as the Washington Post reported this weekend, the Canadians aren’t going down without a fight. Several of their ships have been stopped and boarded by the United States Coast Guard in the “gray zone” surrounding Grand Manan Island (which we also own), but now the conflict has moved south to Machias Seal Island.
In late June and early July, Canadian fishermen said, U.S. Border Patrol agents in speedboats intercepted Canadian lobster boats in the Gray Zone.
“I have no idea where they came from,” said Laurence Cook, a lobsterman and representative of the Fishermen’s Association from nearby Grand Manan Island. “We’ve never seen U.S. Border Patrol in the Gray Zone before.”
Cook said at least 10 Canadian boats were stopped and their crews interrogated about whether they were carrying drugs and illegal immigrants.
The incident comes at a low point in U.S.-Canadian relations. The United States in May slapped tariffs on imports of Canadian steel and aluminum, prompting retaliation from Canada on the same metals and other U.S. exports. President Trump has lashed out at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling him “dishonest and weak.”
Just as a point of clarification, the State Department issued a statement saying Machias Seal Island belongs to the United States and has been part of our country since 1783.
This situation is escalating and the Canadians need to consider their next move carefully. One can almost see an argument being made about the ownership of Grand Manan. The vast majority of it is directly off the coast of Maine, but the northernmost tip is in line of sight of Herring Cove, which is in Canada. (It’s still ours, though.) But having the Canadians attempting to claim Machias Seal Island is a preposterous outrage. It’s well south of Grand Manan and clearly off the coast of Maine. In fact, it’s named after the town of Machias and Machias Bay, both of which are indisputably in Maine. Directly North of Machias Seal Island you run into South Trescott, which is still in Maine.
This area is completely within our territorial waters, which extend 12 nautical miles (nearly 14 miles) from our coast. If you are in a vessel flying the flag of another country sailing in those waters, fishing or taking lobsters, you need to have permission or prepare to be boarded. Clearly, the Canadians have not gotten the message and are spoiling for a border fight.
I realize many of you have grown weary of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and are concerned over the possibility of fighting breaking out with North Korea or Russia. But this is Canada we’re talking about. They’re right on our border. We won’t even use much fuel getting there. This is a war we can definitely win and we clearly have the Light of Righteousness on our side. Onward, people. Those are our lobsters, damnit, and as patriotic Americans, we all have a right, nay… a duty to protect what is ours!