I was trying to stretch last Labour Day weekend into a 4 day weekend when I got a call that Friday that there was a camera crew at the office to talk about the Grey Zone.* We knew they were on the island, but I was hoping they’d miss that stop. I
somewhat reluctantly went to do an interview. Talking to the media is never my favourite thing. Talking to a US based reporter about a lucrative area of the ocean that is claimed by both Canada and the United States? Well, I wished I’d had more coffee that morning.
Fast forward to today in the town of Bucksport, Maine, where the world premier of Lobster War: The Fight Over the World’s Richest Fishing Ground took place. I felt some trepidation going into the theatre, being unsure how my island would be portrayed. That slowly transitioned to excitement: really, how often do you get a chance to see people you know on a movie screen?
My worry was for naught; the documentary was a good portrayal of both sides of the dispute. While I might not have agreed with some of the American fishermen’s version of events, I’m sure the feeling was mutual from the other side. In fact, it was interesting to hear their interpretation first hand.
I found myself beaming with pride as our local cast of characters made their way across the screen. (I was completely restrained and didn’t yell “I know him!” at all.) They told their story well and some of their unique personality quirks came through too. To my great relief, my appearance was less than a minute and my words were somewhat coherent.
While the focus of the show is on the disputed water between Canada and the United States, there’s also a good overview of lobster as a species, the impact of climate change, and what it could mean for fishermen and the communities that depend on them. Regardless of which side of the border you’re on, it’s an issue that affects us all.
Lobster War is making the rounds of various film festivals this fall. If you get a chance, check it out.
*The Grey Zone is the area of water around Machias Seal Island between Maine and New Brunswick. Because of uncertainty around treaties, both countries claim the island and the surrounding waters. Fishermen from both countries fish the area for lobster. Canada mans the lighthouse on the island year round.