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To Protect the Complex Marine Ecosystem

The Saguenay - St. Lawrence Marine Park (SSLMP)

Just about 200 km from Quebec City where the longest fjord of Eastern Canada meets the St Lawrence Estuary- the world’s largest estuary, lies the centre of the first Canadian marine Park, The Saguenay - St. Lawrence Marine Park (SSMLP). The park was created in 1998 to protect the unique marine ecosystem and the amazing biological diversity of the estuary.

Throughout the year these waters are home for the most southerly beluga whale population.  From May to October, their giant relatives, the blue, finback, humpback and minke whales as well as harbour porpoises migrate into these productive waters.

The First Marine Park

In 1998 the governments of Canada and Québec created the first marine park in Québec to protect this unique and important marine ecosystem. The Park's boundaries cover 1245 km2  and include a variety of important and highly diverse habitats such as the deep waters of the Laurentian channel head, the shallow waters upriver of  Prince Shoal Lighthouse, the narrow waters of the lower Saguenay Fjord and the turbulent waters of the confluence area, where the warmer brownish water of the Fjord
meets the cold turquoise water of the Estuary.

Our  study area covers exactly these, constantly changing, waters.

Whale Watching Regulations in Place

The Park's objectives include, among others, the conservation of the marine ecosystems and its inhabitants, the raising of public awareness, and the realization of scientific research. In the Nineties a variety of studies carried out by governmental and non-governmental organizations such as ORES led to the creation of the Park.

These studies still contribute to the improvement of conservation efforts and management strategies.  The numbers, observation times and speed of whale watching boats are highly regulated in order to guarantee a respectful and sustainable use of marine mammals.

(Source: Marine Activities in the Saguenay-St.Lawrence Marine Park Regulations 2002).