Portrait of the park - Parc marin du Saguenay – Saint-Laurent - National Parks - Sépaq

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Parc marin du Saguenay–Saint‑Laurent

Portrait of the park

History of Parc marin du Saguenay–Saint-Laurent

  • 1988: Twenty-seven regional groups created the “Coalition pour le parc marin du Saguenay–Saint-Laurent”
  • April 1990:The Canadian and Québec government signed an agreement creating Parc marin du Saguenay–Saint-Laurent.
  • December 1990: Public consultation on determining the boundaries of the marine park
  • April 1993: Public consultation on the development of the marine park
  • 1995: First Master Plan for the Saguenay–Saint-Laurent marine park presenting, for the first time in Québec, the joint and complementary bi-governmental approach to the establishment of a marine park, and an innovative approach featuring community involvement in the park’s management through the creation of a coordinating committee.
  • June 1998: Laws about the marine park came into force.
  • June 2001: The coordination committee approved the conservation plan.
  • February 2002: Marine Activities in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Regulations came into force.
  • 2007: Publication of the State of Parc marin du Saguenay–Saint-Laurent Report 
  • Early 2008: Public consultations on the revision of the Master Plan
  • February 2010: Submission of the revised Master Plan presenting the principles, orientations and key actions to be implemented over the next seven (7) years.
  • June 2011: Creation of the Eco-Whale Alliance
  • 2014: The St. Lawrence beluga whale population was declared an endangered species by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).
  • January 2017: Entry into force of the Amended Marine Activities Regulations 

The Park’s Natural Heritage

These constantly renewed waters form an open and dynamic ecosystem, home to a wide variety of plants and animals and filled with fascinating phenomena.

  • Nine species of marine mammals regularly swim in the park’s waters. The beluga and the harbour seal even stay year-round. Three of these species are pinnipeds: the harbour seal, the grey seal and the harp seal. The 6 others are cetaceans: the beluga, the harbour porpoise, the minke whale, the fin whale, the blue whale, and the humpback whale
  • Many of the park’s plants and animals live attached to the seabed or in close connection with it. These organisms are divided into 3 zones, each providing specific conditions: the intertidal zone, the sublittoral zone, and the bathyal zone.
  • The marine park area is a paradise for bird watchers! The waters of the estuary and the fjord touch on a multitude of terrestrial habitats. Over 150 bird species have been counted here.

To find out more about the marine life of the St. Lawrence:


The Cultural Heritage of the Park

For millennia, the confluence of the Saguenay and the St. Lawrence has created conditions favourable for human use of the marine environment. After the most recent passage of glaciers about 10,000 years ago, the territory of Québec became partially habitable. Archaeological digs revealed that hunters were in the area starting at least 8,000 years ago.

In addition to shaping their way of life, fishing and hunting marine wildlife contributed to exchanges between the Amerindians. Some 5,000 year later, Amerindian hunters left evidence of their activities on the Upper North Shore, where seal bones were found.

Due mainly to the fur trade, the first contacts between the Amerindians and the Europeans took place in the 16th century – and they were crucial to the rest of the story.

Breaking with a long marine past, forestry took hold in the early 19th century, announcing the arrival of industrialization, which would continue gaining momentum until the 20th century.

Did you know?

The Park in Numbers

Year established: 1998
Area: 1245 km2
Annual attendance: 1 million visit-days


Lists of Species

(in French only)

Species at risk

Mammals

Birds


The St. Lawrence Estuary

Surrounded by three oceans and with the Great Lakes in the middle of the country, Canada has an extraordinary marine heritage. Several communities are working together to build a network of protected marine areas worthy of this wealth. This production, which combines video and 3-D animation with science, offers another perspective on an amazing place that represents our marine heritage: the St. Lawrence Estuary. Here mysterious and surprising things happen. But the essential is hidden…Discover the St. Lawrence Estuary beyond the surface!


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