Fishermen Battle Over Lobster-Rich Zone

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A 110-mile stretch of the Atlantic Ocean that sits between the northeast corner of Maine and Canada is referred to as the Gray Zone, but lately it’s been a battle zone for fishermen (search) who say overcrowding is creating problems.

Both Canada and the U.S. claim sovereignty over the area that holds a treasure trove of lobster (search).  For decades it was shared: Americans fished in the summer months and Canadians in the winter. But the lobster supply started drying up by November, so in 2002 the Canadians changed the rules.

"We changed the rules unilaterally because the American government and the American fishermen weren't willing to come to us and look at the problem and come up with a solution,” said Klaus Sonnenberg of the Grand Manan Fishermen's Association (search).

But American fishermen are angry, saying now the zone is much more crowded and lobster traps are often on top of each other, leading to tangled lines, flared tempers and lost equipment.

“You have more gear fouls and tangles,” said Maine-based fisherman Nick Lemieux. “And it just makes for a lot longer days."

Now the two sides seem to be at an impasse, but no one wants the Gray Zone divided down the middle.

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