There's a border dispute heating up between the US and Canada over lobster

There is still a tiny bit of disputed territory between the US and Canada, and relations on the border are getting frosty.

The northeastern-most part of the US — on the coast where Maine meets New Brunswick — there are two tiny, uninhabited islands in a political grey area. It isn’t because anyone wants the islands — instead, they want the lobster surrounding the islands, and it’s disputed which country has the fishing rights.

During normal times, the dispute seems to be little more than an annoyance. But apparently this year, there are real problems because the price of lobster is so high ($US5.50 a pound in that area, compared to $US4 the previous year), according to Zane Schwartz in Maclean’s.

Schwartz writes:

The conflict bubbles to the surface every few years, when a bellicose lobsterman on one side or the other gets quoted in the press and sets the other side off. But things are different this year. Due to the high price of lobster, new lobstermen have entered the fray, and they are ignoring unwritten rules that have kept the conflict on a low simmer since 1783.

There are fears from the Maine side that this might get violent:

“Somebody is going to get killed. We’ve had bad years in the past and got lucky, but this is the worst year I’ve ever seen,” says American John Drouin, chair of the Maine Lobster Zone Council district in charge of the grey zone. Drouin fears things are even more dangerous than they were eight years ago, when Maine lobsterman Patrick Feeney had his thumb ripped off. It got caught as he was trying to free his equipment while jostling with a Canadian for territory.

Meanwhile, both countries assert their legal rights to the islands.

Click here to read the whole story, and see a really fabulous photo of a puffin.

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