A record 24 sightings of unidentified flying objects were reported in New Brunswick in 2007, according to an annual report released by the Winnipeg-based Ufology Research Institute.

A total of 836 sightings were reported in Canada in 2007 according to the report, which was released Wednesday.

The year saw a shift from British Columbia usually holding the top position for sightings to Canada's east.

New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec had a record number of sightings in 2007 since the reports began to be published in 1989.

One of the most puzzling sightings was in Saint John on Nov. 3, 2007, said research co-ordinator Chris Rutkowski.

Two people observed a tube-shaped object that appeared to be hovering over the port city, Rutkowski said.

"It suddenly shot away and they don't understand what it was because they were watching it one minute and they went around the corner it was simply not there," he said.

The annual compilation of sightings is based on reports that are submitted to a variety of sources that include the Department of National Defence, Transport Canada and various websites.

Many sightings that are reported over the course of a year are later determined to be stars, planes, satellites or fireballs.

Another New Brunswick sighting, reported in Oromocto on May 4, 2007, spotted a stationary light that was flashing colours while hovering low on the horizon.

The person who reported it watched the object for about 10 minutes before it just disappeared, Rutkowski said.

"In this particular case, we believe it's possible they were watching a very bright star or planet," he said. "Nevertheless, it was reported as a UFO and adds to the body of cases that contribute to our understanding of what people are really seeing."

Last year saw a 12 per cent increase in sightings compared to 2006. But 2004 continues to hold the record at 882 reported sightings.

The increase in the number of sightings may be an indication that people are becoming more comfortable with reporting unusual sightings, Rutkowski said.

"I think that science should be treating the subject of UFOs a little bit more seriously and I think that the public demands this because there are so many things out there reminding us of aliens and UFOs everyday life," he said.