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BENOÎT, H.P., J.A. GAGNÉ, C. SAVENKOFF, P. OUELLET, M.-N. BOURASSA, 2012. State-of-the-Ocean report for the Gulf of St. Lawrence Integrated Management (GOSLIM) area. Can. Manuscr. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 2986, 81 p .
This document is part of an initiative conducted by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans to report on the ecological "State of the Oceans" (SOTO). It concisely summarizes the most recent scientific information relevant to six key issues that have a considerable impact on the ecosystems of the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence Large Ocean Management Area (LOMA): (1) hypoxia in the deep waters, (2) ocean acidification, (3) changes in seasonal sea-ice cover and its effect on marine mammals, (4) aquatic invasive species, (5) impacts of fishing and climate-driven changes in exploited marine populations and communities, and (6) potential impacts of grey seal predation on groundfish populations. The information is presented following the Drivers Pressures State Impacts and Responses approach (DPSIR) to the identification and management of the environmental effects. Existing reports on the structure, state, and management of the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence LOMA are also reviewed with the aim to highlight the manner in which the present report complements that information. Furthermore, a brief discussion on what should constitute the structure and content of a more effective SOTO report is presented as an explanation for the nature of the present report and as a guide for future SOTO reporting in the LOMA. The report results from a collaboration between ocean scientists and managers in support of integrated management in the St. Lawrence LOMA.
COMTOIS, S., C. SAVENKOFF, M.-N. BOURASSA, J.-C. BRÊTHES, R. SEARS, 2010. Regional distribution and abundance of Blue and Humpback Whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci., 2877, 46 p .
Blue whale sightings have been monitored in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (GSL) by the Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) since 1979. More than 400 individuals with a heterogeneous GSL distribution have been identified to date. This report aims to qualitatively describe the distribution, dispersal, and relative abundance of blue whales on temporal and spatial scales. Information gathered on humpback whales is also described. Results confirm the general nomadic behaviour of blue whales and suggest that the GSL represents only a portion of the broad summer feeding range. Results also indicate that individual behaviours on site fidelity vary considerably: occasional vs. regular visitors and cosmopolitan vs. exclusive animals. In addition, we were able to distinguish between several areas of significant blue whale sightings based on temporal trends in the sites frequentation. While the lower Estuary seems to be the area where blue whales are most often sighted, the Mingan region has seen its blue whale frequentation decrease to such an extent that observations are now rare. Conversely, an increasing number of humpback whales have been observed in the Mingan region each year. Because many questions on their general ecology remain unanswered, the aim of this study was to increase our knowledge on the habitat use and behaviour of these rorquals. Furthermore, since marine mammals have been proposed as ecosystem sentinels, long-term monitoring can detect spatial or temporal trends that could reflect changing processes in the environment
SAVENKOFF, C., M.-N. BOURASSA, D. BARIL, H.P. BENOÎT, 2007. Identification of ecologically and biologically significant areas for the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence ; Identification des zones d'importance écologie et biologique pour l'estuaire et le golfe du Saint-Laurent. DFO, Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Research Document ; MPO, Secrétariat canadien de consultation scientifique, Document de recherche, 2007/015, 49 p .
This report describes the analyses presented in a regional workshop held in Mont-Joli (Qc.) in order to synthesize the information across thematic layers based on physical, chemical, and biological data and identify the ecologically and biologically significant areas (EBSAs) for the Gulf of St. Lawrence Integrated Management (GOSLIM) initiative. Across all thematic layers, 96 important areas (IAs) have been identified based on the best scientific information available (geographically referenced data). These IAs are all characterized by specific scores for each of three main dimensions used to define EBSAs: uniqueness, aggregation, and fitness consequences. In synthesizing IAs across thematic layers, two general approaches were used based on: (1) each of the three main dimensions used separately and (2) the sum of their scores. The workshop concluded by identifying ten regions as EBSAs for the Estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, covering 77,184 km2 (30&nsbp;% of the total area). All ten proposed EBSAs are related, at least in part, to IAs previously identified by a Delphic (expert opinion) approach. Potential sources of uncertainty and recommendations for the definition of EBSAs in other systems or in the present one in the future are discussed.
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