Federal government investigating U.S. border patrols around Machias Seal Island

The federal government said Thursday it's investigating a series of encounters in which U.S. border patrols have approached Canadian fishing vessels in a disputed island area off the East Coast.

The area in question is around Machias Seal Island, an eight-hectare rock island at the Maine-New Brunswick border.

U.S Customs and Border Protection say agents whose sector covers the area have interviewed workers on 21 Canadian vessels this fiscal year while conducting regular patrols to enforce immigration laws.

The agency says it hasn't made any arrests, and it's operating within its jurisdiction, while some Canadian fishermen have described the encounters as harassment.