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MARTEL, M.-C., L. PROVENCHER, C. GRANT, H.-F. ELLEFSEN, S. PEREIRA, 2009. Distribution et description des herbiers de zostère du Québec ; Distribution and description of eelgrass beds in Québec. MPO, Secrétariat canadien de consultation scientifique, Document de recherche ; DFO, Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, Research Document, 2009/050, 45 p .
An advisory process was conducted to determine whether eelgrass (Zostera mariana) meets the criteria pertaining to ecologically significant species and community properties. This document presents information on the distribution of eelgrass beds in the estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence in Québec and some elements of two studies about an area of interest, the future Manicouagan marine protection area. In general, eelgrass beds are geographically distributed throughout the estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence in the Province of Québec. The largest eelgrass beds are as follow: the bed off Manicouagan, the LIsle-Verte eelgrass bed in the lower estuary, the one off Île Crescent and in Aylmer Sound bay on the north shore Gulf, and the Cascapédia bed in Chaleur Bay. The total surface area occupied by the various eelgrass beds are as follows: in the upper estuary 53 hectares; in the lower estuary 937 hectares along the north shore and 1,340 hectares along the south shore; along the northeastern portion of the Gaspé Peninsula 837 hectares; in Chaleur Bay 3,266 hectares. As for the eelgrass beds along the middle and lower North Shore, the total area occupied is not known, but the beds that are known occupy over 3,000 hectares. The characterisation of the eelgrass beds bordering the Manicouagan peninsula clearly show the importance of eelgrass in terms of abundance and diversity as well as the biomass of organisms inhabiting these beds. Marine fauna sampling led to the identification of 99 taxa representing the epiphytic, benthic, suprabenthic and ichthyan fauna of this bed. The Manicouagan eelgrass bed has spread over the last 20 years and new beds have become established.
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