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WKIT News: Canada investigates run-ins between US customs, fishermen

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Canadian government says it’s investigating a series of encounters in which U.S. border patrols have approached Canadian fishing vessels in a disputed island area off the East Coast.

The area in question is around Machias Seal Island, a 20-acre (8-hectare) rock island at the Maine-New Brunswick border.

U.S Customs and Border Protection says agents with a sector that covers the area have interviewed 21 Canadian vessels this fiscal year while conducting regular patrols to enforce immigration laws. The agency says it hasn’t made any arrests.

Some Canadian fishermen have described the interviews as harassment. A Global Affairs Canada spokesman said Thursday the country considers its sovereignty over the area to be “longstanding.”

Machias Seal Island is located off Cutler, Maine, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) up the coast from Portland.

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