Passamaquoddy Bay is an
inlet of the Bay of Fundy, between the U.S. state of Maine and the
Canadian province of
Brunswick, at the
mouth of the St. Croix River. Most of the bay lies within Canada, with its
western shore bounded by Washington County, Maine. The southernmost point is formed by West Quoddy
Head on the U.S. mainland in Lubec, Maine; and is then bounded northeastwardly by Campobello
Island, New Brunswick and Deer Island, New Brunswick; thence, running to shores by mainland Charlotte
County, New Brunswick.
The southern boundaries of the bay are sometimes confused, since
Deer Island sections off the large open waters of the bay; however,
the terminology of the Passamaquoddy Bay Treaty of 1910 specifies
that Passamaquoddy Bay runs south of Treat Island (one of the
islands that now comprise the city of Eastport, Maine), between
Campobello Island and Lubec, Maine...
"Now, therefore, upon the evidence and arguments so
presented, and after taking into consideration all actions, of the
respective Governments and of their representatives authorized in
that behalf and of the local governments on either side of the
line, whether prior or subsequent to such treaties and award,
tending to aid in the interpretation thereof, the High Contracting
Parties hereby agree that the location of the international
boundary line between the United States and the Dominion of Canada
from a point in Passamaquoddy Bay accurately defined in the Treaty
between Great Britain and the United State's of April 11, 1908, as,
'lying between Treat Island and Friar Head, and extending
thence through Passamaquoddy Bay and to, the middle of Grand Manan
Channel, shall run in a series of seven connected straight
lines for the distances and in the directions as
largest community on Passamaquoddy Bay proper is St. Andrews,
New Brunswick, although the twin communities of Calais-St. Stephen are sometimes included, despite being located on
the St. Croix River. The city of Eastport, Maine lies between Passamaquoddy Bay and Cobscook Bay, to
the city's west.
The narrow passage between Maine and Deer
Island are known asWestern Passage.
The passage between
Eastport, Maine, and Friar Bay, Campobello Island, is known as
The three entrances into Passamaquoddy Bay from the Bay of Fundy
are Letete Passage
northeast of Deer Island, Head
to the southeast of Deer Island and northwest
of Campobello Island, and Quoddy Narrows,
Lubec, Maine, and southern Campobello Island. Running north from
West Quoddy Head in Lubec, the passages known as Quoddy
Narrows, Lubec Channel, Lubec Narrows, Friar Roads,
also host the International Boundary
and the United States.
The Head Harbour Passage is the deepwater entry to the Bay. The
U.S. and Canadian governments agree that the passage is Canadian.
The U.S. government believes that it is a territorial sea in which
international law gives commercial vessels a right of passage. The
Canadian government believes that it can regulate passage, and is
considering doing so to prevent the use by supertankers carrying
cargo to liquified natural gas
plants proposed for the American coast of the bay.
After the American Revolution, Passamaquoddy Bay was the scene of a
trade. Smuggling peaked in
1808 during Jefferson's Embargo, when smugglers illegally moved
tens of thousands of barrels of American flour from American
territory into New
During the War of 1812, a thriving illicit trade in British
manufactured goods existed. After the War of 1812, the primary smuggled
good was gypsum from Nova
Scotia, which was usually deposited directly into American
vessels on or near the border.
Smuggling was winked at by
both officials and locals in the region, who discouraged outside
intervention by British or American authorities who wanted to stop
or control it.
The Passamaquoddy Tidal Power Project/"Quoddy Dam" Project
A proposed development project for eastern Maine, envisioned by
hydroelectric engineer Dexter Cooper, involving the construction of
a tidal harness
for electricity generation
in 1935 under U.S. Public
Works Administration funding and with the blessing of President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt,
whose summer home was on nearby Campobello Island, New Brunswick,
as the Quoddy Project, it proposed impounding Cobscook Bay and part of Passamaquoddy Bay with a series of dams
and control structures to exploit the resulting water level
difference to generate electrical power.
turbines for power generation would have been located at the
isthmus on Moose Island, Eastport, with the water passing between
Passamaquoddy Bay and Cobscook Bay, with the "used" generating
water released from impoundment at low tide.
this project was completed by the construction of dikes built between Pleasant Point-Carlow Island-Moose
The project was suspended one year later
after the United States
refused further funding, thus the actual barrier dams
never being built. The dike barriers now underlie the former
Maine Central Railroad
the current Maine Highway 190
well as between Treat Island (in Eastport) and Dudley Island (in
Several iterations and variations on the project later ensued, but
never began construction.
Joshua M. Smith, Borderland Smuggling: Patriots, Loyalists and
Illicit Trade in the Northeast, 1783-1820
University Press of Florida, 2006.