More on the U.S.-Canada fishing boundary dispute

It seems like this summer’s fishing boundary dispute failed to garner widespread attention on the Canadian side of the border for quite some time. (Outside of fishing circles, anyway.)

But today’s Ottawa Citizen has prominent coverage of the flap. Read the full article by Zev Singer here.

The article substantiates complaints the situation is too muddled:

For its part, the CBSA has consistently said since the incident that the Andersen case was unremarkable and in line with the enforcement executed routinely by its officers.

“If it so happens that you’re caught breaking the law and one of our officers catches you then you need to face the consequences,” Luc Nadon, a CBSA spokesman told the Citizen. He said there has been no change in the way enforcement is done by his agency.

“That’s a crock,” said Runciman, who has a home on the St. Lawrence River. [Note: that would be Canadian Conservative Sen. Bob Runciman]

“I’ve said ‘Give us a list of individuals who’ve been dealt with in a similar manner for fishing in Canadian waters — with an Ontario fishing licence, not anchored — and had to pay $1,000 to get their boat back.’ …. My guess is it simply hasn’t happened.”

The Citizen put Runciman’s question to the CBSA.

The initial response from the agency was that from 2008-2010 there were 117 cases of recreational fishing vessels and other pleasure boats seized for “failure to report inwards.” However, when the Citizen asked for further clarification on how many of those 117 cases involved boats that were, like Andersen’s, unanchored, the CBSA could substantiate only that there was “at least one.”

“This is not common practice, this has not been common practice,” said Runciman, who called the treatment of Andersen “outrageous” and has called for the CBSA to return the $1,000 and apologize. “You can see that by the reaction of the Americans, and by a lot of Canadians, that this is something new, out of the blue.”

If I recall earlier reporting correctly, the $1,000 fine paid by Roy M. Andersen was returned, all but $1. (To defend the point that the fine was legal and the rules were correctly applied.)

But clearly, the issue is far from settled. Will louder media coverage in Canada contribute to further clarification and resolution? Or just add more shouting to the fray?

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