CROSSING INTO U.S. WATERS AND NOT REPORTING COULD COST YOU A $5000.00 FINE AND YOUR BOAT!!!
I am hoping to keep people informed so they don't end up with a huge fine. Since I live in a border town I have been hearing a lot of issues going on with Canada and U.S. Border Officials. There is a lot of talk going on now to try and clarify the issue of crossing border waters to fish. The latest report out of the Cornwall Standard Freeholder states that U.S. officials can give you a $5000.00 fine and take your boat if you don't report.
With the Kingston Canadian Open and the Berkley B1 happening on bordering waters, this could become a huge issue if the rules are not followed.
The newspaper article below.
Border officials acting on long-established law
'Unacceptable,' says U.S. congressman
By JAKE EDMISTON, FOR QMI AGENCY
Posted 22 hours ago
Officers who fined an American man $1,000
for fishing on the wrong side of the border were acting inside a
long-established law, Canadian border officials say.On May 30,
Roy Andersen of Baldwinsville, N.Y., was fishing on the Canadian side of
the Gananoque Narrows when Canadian Border Services Agency officers
boarded and seized his boat.Andersen told the Watertown Daily
Times newspaper the officers said he was in violation of the Canadian
Customs Act that requires every visitor to Canada report to a port of
entry for inspection.Andersen said he was warned that if he
didn't pay $1,000 on the spot to release his boat, the border services
officers would have handcuffed both him and his passenger and forced
them to lay on the floor of the boat while they were towed to shore."Forcing
every fisherman and private boater to report to a Canadian customs
office each time they enter Canadian waters is unacceptable and
impractical," congressman Bill Owens wrote in a letter to Canadian
ambassador Gary Doer in Washington, DC.Reports claimed that
Andersen possessed a Canadian fishing licence and hadn't docked or
anchored his boat while on the Canadian side.Chris Kealey, a
spokesman for the Canadian Border Services Agency, said Canadian Border
Services officers are able to use their judgement before assessing fines
to violators.Canadian boaters looking to cross into American
waters have similar obligations to report to a customs office or must be
enrolled in a Trusted Traveller program and call in to announce their
entrance into the country.Boaters caught violating the American
law are subject to $5,000 in fines as well as seizure of their vessel,
border patrol officials said.Fines can rise to $10,000 for repeat violations.Keith
Konopa, operations specialist with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, said
if a boat comes "to rest" in American waters, it's considered to have
entered the country.
"If you're just sort of floating around,
you've basically entered the United States," Konopa said. "If you're
entering into your favourite fishing spot, you've made an entry and you
should report."Thomas Rusert, public affairs liaison at the
Buffalo field office for customs and border patrol couldn't say how
often boaters are fined for failing to report, but he said "it's an
infrequent occurrence.""We're not going to get into the (border
patrol officers') discretion ... we're just going to tell you what the
law is and leave it at that," he said.When Owens heard of
Andersen's case on the news late last week, he waited over the weekend
before contacting the Canadian ambassador.Owens told the Kingston
Whig-Standard that he wanted to see if any other fisherman or boaters
came forward with similar experiences."When it turned out it was
only one incident, that further raised my suspicion that this was an
unusual enforcement action," said Owens, who represents the region of
New York State that encompasses the Thousand Islands.On Monday, Owens said he was told Canadian embassy officials were investigating the matter."We
have a lot of statutes on the books, in both the U.S. and Canada, that
are not enforced," Owens said, adding that he consulted boaters in the
Thousand Islands region and learned that residents on both sides cross
the border go fishing without reporting their whereabouts and typically
don't run into issues."From what I understand from people who
live in the neighbourhood, this goes on all the time," he said. "What
struck me was, if this was the ongoing policy, why wasn't it being
enforced before?"Canadian embassy officials are expected to
return to Owens with details on the incident, to help determine whether
other factors were at play that prompted the seizure."If there is something unusual about this, we'd certainly want to know that," Owens said.Owens called for changes in officers' approach to violators, so that only docked boats need to report to customs."If
we need to make a statutory change, we should do that," he said, "but
I'd like some practical resolution that allows people to fish in the
river and not have to go through a bureaucratic process."It makes no sense and it's not good for either country."
That is the latest on the situation. I will post any other information as the saga continues. I am not trying to beat a dead horse with this story, as I have wrote about it a couple other times.
This can become a serious situation as an angler, a $5000.00 fine and your $40000.00 Bass Boat could make for an awful day on the river, not to mention being handcuffed and forced to the floor.
I think the whole situation is a little out of control, hopefully things can get cleared up and maybe some clarification on the rules and laws would be good.
At this time I would say use caution when fishing border waters.