Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

July 7, 2013

HILTS: Border water concerns affecting resource usage

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Enforcement issues on both sides of the border are starting to not only impact the people who enjoy the natural resources we share, but it’s also impacting some businesses that tie into the Niagara River and Lake Ontario. It’s getting crazy out there and it’s starting to keep people away from a relaxing day of fishing or boating.

Let’s take the plight of a Rochester angler who enjoys what the Great Lakes have to offer in our back yard. He had hoped to fish up on Lake Erie but the winds chased him off. “Let’s head down to the lower Niagara River for a few hours of action,” was his immediate reply, a great safety valve for anglers when the need for a quick dose of fishing is required to get your head on straight again.

After a few hours of fishing, they were getting ready to call it a day when one of the guys on the boat suggested that they take a quick drift on the Queenston Back Drift. They had Canadian licenses and wanted to see if they could hit anything with their fish offerings. Almost immediately, they could hear shouting along the shoreline. As they drifted closer, it was Canadian immigration officials ordering them to pull into the shoreline.

“We see that you have called in before when fishing in Province of Ontario waters, but not this time,” they said. “Your boat is in our system. We are going to have to confiscate your boat.”

As the Rochester angler stood there in disbelief, the Canadian agency announced that they would be returning the boat back to them, but they would be required to call into the Canadian Border Services Agency any time that they would be entering in Canadian waters in the future – or a heavy fine would be applied, starting at $2,500. This was followed up with a letter from the Canadian agency. Be forewarned that they mean business!

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