“Speaking as John Drouin, Cutler fisherman and an individual, I have to say that I want the Canadians out of the Gray Zone. They just don’t understand the historical nature of the fishery. As a representative to the [Gray Zone] working committee, I had hopes of coming out of these meetings with a co-management plan.”

The “Gray Zone” is a roughly oval-shaped area in the Gulf of Maine surrounding disputed Machias Seal Island and measuring approximately 100 square miles. Both the U.S. and Canadian governments have laid claim to the zone, and the dispute specifically involves fishermen from Washington County and Grand Manan, New Brunswick.

Drouin, who is in his 24th season as a fisherman, is chairman of Maine’s Zone A Lobster Council and a member of the Department of Marine Resources’ Advisory Council. The Canadians “should understand that to have a peaceful fishery, they need to adopt some of our procedures. If you have two user groups using the same area, it’s a difficult situation if you have different methods.”

Klaus Sonnenberg, general manager of the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association, responds, “Both groups of fishermen stand to benefit from an area as large as this if it’s properly managed. The Americans, including the government, have refused to delineate the zone as an area of special interest. Nothing can be done until this delineation.”

He adds, “For the Americans to say they want to push Canadians out and have the fishery the way it used to be is only going to delay a real solution. We all need to cooperate; that’s what we need at this point. Then hopefully, we can return to a more sensible form of management.”