STONINGTON — Award-winning Boston filmmaker and journalist David Schwab Abel’s documentary “Lobster War: The Fight Over the World’s Richest Fishing Grounds” will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, at the Stonington Opera House.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Abel who was part of The Boston Globe team covering the April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon bombing. He covers fisheries and the environment for The Globe.
“Lobster War” explores the climate-fueled conflict between the United States and Canada over waters both nations have claimed since the end of the Revolutionary War. The disputed 277 square miles of sea, known as the Gray Zone, were traditionally fished by U.S. lobstermen. But as the Gulf of Maine has warmed faster than nearly any other body of water on the planet, the Gray Zone’s previously modest lobster population has surged. As a result, Canadians have begun to assert their sovereignty in the area, fighting with the Americans to claim the bounty.
There have been death threats on both sides of the watery divide, as lobstermen accuse each other of sabotaging lines, stealing gear and setting traps atop those already in the water.
The United States and Canada have long shared the world’s longest peaceful border, but a centuries-old conflict over 277 square miles of disputed, increasingly lucrative waters has sown discord and threatens to shatter the tranquility between the neighbors.
Fueling the tension is the rapid warming of the Gulf of Maine and the surging value of lobster, which has attracted more Canadian fishermen to the so-called Gray Zone, the disputed territory fished mainly by Americans until a decade ago. Both countries now allow their lobstermen to fish there, though each claims exclusive ownership of the waters.
“This is a ticking time bomb out here,” says Brian Cates of Cutler, who has been fishing the contested waters near the Bay of Fundy since he was 9. “It’s just a matter of time before someone gets killed.”