Maine lobstermen hauling traps in an internationally disputed section of the Bay of Fundy, known as the “gray zone,” will be allowed some extra hours working at sea this year under a resolve recently enacted by the Maine Legislature. It’s the latest but likely not the last skirmish in a long-running conflict between Canada and the U.S. over fishing rules in the zone.
The roughly 210-square mile area that includes uninhabited Machias Seal Island is claimed by both Canada and the U.S. It’s a fertile fishing ground, and lobster fleets from each country harvest there, with uneasy and sometimes openly hostile relations.
One complaint from Maine lobstermen: In the peak harvest months of September and October, they are barred from hauling traps outside daylight in the gray zone, while Canadian fishermen can work the same territory 24-7.
“Passing this bill would put a very small bandage on a very large wound,” says John Drouin, a Cutler lobsterman and chairman of the Zone A Lobster Council who fishes in the gray zone.