Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park
In September 2023, the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec signed the Canada-Quebec Accord Relating to the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park Expansion Project, which defines the provisions for cooperation on implementing the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park Expansion Project. The expansion would help to protect part of the St. Lawrence Estuary and its ecosystems which are habitat to over 2,200 species, some of which, like the beluga whale., are at risk. During the fall of 2024, the governments plan to hold a joint public consultation to discuss the proposed boundaries.
The expansion project aims to extend the boundaries of the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park into the St. Lawrence Estuary to include critical beluga whale habitat, over 60% of which currently lies outside park boundaries. The expansion would also protect a feeding area for several species of whales, some of which have been identified as species-at-risk. The Government of Quebec created land reserves for environmental protection adjacent to the St. Lawrence Estuary in 2020. The expansion of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park would ensure permanent legal protection for a significant portion of these designated lands.
The proposed boundaries of the study area include the coastline but exclude all islets and islands. They also exclude all existing marine development, including wharves, marinas and harbours, as is the case with the current marine park boundaries. Existing harbour facilities at Forestville, Rivière-du-Loup and Cacouna, for example, would therefore not be included within park boundaries.
Starting this fall (2023), representatives of Parks Canada, the Ministère de l’Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs and the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (SEPAQ) will hold joint meetings with various project stakeholders (Indigenous communities, municipalities, businesses, etc.) to gather their views and comments. This will be followed by a joint government (Canada and Quebec) consultation in Fall 2024 and will include a discussion of the proposed boundaries.
Marine Activities Regulations