U.S. backs Canadian seizure of fishing boat

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The State Department said Tuesday that Canadian border officers were within their rights when they seized an American fisherman’s boat and fined him $1,000 for fishing in Canadian waters without registering at customs.

In a statement, the State Department said the Canada Border Services Agency was acting within “long-standing regulations” by penalizing Roy M. Anderson, who was snagged by Canadian officers while fishing, unanchored, in the Gananoque Narrows, according to the Watertown (N.Y.) Daily Times.

All foreign boaters must report to Canadian authorities upon arrival in Canadian waters, whether they anchor their boats or not, the State Department said, echoing the Canadian government’s position.

The only exception, according to the State Department, is for boaters traveling through Canadian waters from one U.S. point to another and without stopping along the way.

The State Department’s backing of the Canadians’ approach came as New York U.S. Rep. William L. Owens challenged the Canadian agency’s interpretation of the law and after New York officials asked the agency to refund Anderson his money.

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2 comments on “U.S. backs Canadian seizure of fishing boat

  1. RiverRat

    Dear Canada,

    Please explain IN DETAIL who is and who is not required to check in. We are reading and receiving a lot of conflicting information at this time.

    A couple of scenarios-NONE involve anchoring, touching Canadian soil, etc.
    US tourboats crossing into Canadian waters for the purpose of sightseeing.

    I do not understand how tourboats who are in Canadian waters for “sightseeing purposes” are exempt as they are not on a “direct” route or “passing through” Canadian waters. They have arrived in Canadian waters for a specific purpose.

    Private US boats going into Canadian waters for sightseeing.

    US fishermen in Canadian waters who troll (always fish with the engine running)?

    US fishermen in Canadian waters who drift, but DO NOT anchor?

    US fishing guides (commercial vessels) who fish in Canadian waters?

    How are “fishing” “birdwatching” and “sightseeing” different? US citizens who pass through Canadian waters to avoid shoals, maintain safe distance from shore, etc are allowed to.

    How is drifting with the current at speeds similar to idling against current different. If I’m using a trolling motor does this count? How do you define “stopped”? Is the engine off? Is the engine out of gear?

    Could you please use the common maritime terms “underway” “underway but not making way” and “not underway” to define the requirements for checking in?

    Can you provide a definitive answer on when and how you call to check in?

    One statute states you may call from 1/2 to 4 hours BEFORE entering Canadian waters and they will assess your voyage and determine if you must report to a customs station in person.

    Another states you must call from a Canadian land based phone to determine if you must appear at a customs station.

    Yet another states you must report in person to customs regardless.

    So can I call ahead or not? Who do I call?

    I was stopped by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police TWO DAYS before he was arrested by CBP. We were drift-fishing in the SAME place where he was stopped. The Mounties were friendly and professional, we presented passports and vessel registration/insurance, and were told to have a nice day and thank you for complying with Canadian Law.

    Canada, please get your policies straight and uniformly enforced. We want to comply with EVERY law in place but find it difficult to without a definitive guide. We have called multiple Canadian law enforcement, Can CG, and Can CBP offices and receive a different answer EVERY time.

    For those who think some people are over-reacting, the US-Canadian border waters can be thought of similar to a border between two US states. It is VERY common to pass through Canadian waters when rounding an island going to anything from a camp to a permanent year-round home. Many islanders can have Canadian fire or emergency service respond faster than US service.

    How about a special vessel permit? A “trusted boater” document. Something that IDs the regulars on the river.

    Canada, please, help us out.

  2. whiteout

    They extorted $1000.00 from me several years ago. I no longer go to Canada! It is unfortunate that US officials treat Canadians in a simialr fashion. I do not not support my government’s approach.

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