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Quebec Bulletin
April - May 2014/Volume 17/Number 2

Dispatches

Annual Fisheries Society Annual Meeting: Join us in Québec in August!

The 144th annual meeting of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) will be held in Québec from August 17–21, 2014, under the theme "From Fisheries Research to Management: Think and Act Locally and Globally." Fisheries and Oceans Canada is organizing this global event in cooperation with the Northeastern Division, Atlantic International Chapter and Canadian Aquatic Resources Section of AFS. The City of Québec, Tourisme Québec and the Québec City Convention Centre are major partners in the event.

AFS's mission is to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems, which is in keeping with Fisheries and Oceans Canada's mission. Its members are mainly professionals, mostly from the scientific community, as well as the fisheries resources field (managers, scientists, professors, consultants, industry members, etc.).

The international event is expected to draw about 2500 people. Some 40 symposia will be presented at the Québec City Convention Centre by experts in the fisheries resources field. The exhibition component will allow participants to learn about and discuss common issues in concrete terms.

Réunion annuelle de l’American Fisheries Society

For more information on the 144th AFS Annual Meeting, visit the website, the event's Facebook page or follow us on Twitter.

Maité Chavez
General Meeting Coordinator

Silting of Fishing Harbours in Magdalen Islands Poses Challenge for DFO and industry

Dredging operations in the Magdalen Islands

Several harbours in certain coastal regions experience natural silting caused by tides, floods and storms. In the Magdalen Islands, this is a particular concern in the Île-d’Entrée, Millerand, Pointe-aux-Loups, Grosse-Ile and Pointe-Basse harbours.

Given the importance of commercial fishing to the archipelago, the safety and accessibility of core fishing harbours are priorities for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which invests nearly $1 million each year in dredging operations and management.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is responsible for the dredging program. Every spring, it ensures that the harbours are safe at the start of fishing activities. Naturally, the peak of the season is the opening of the lobster fishery, when 325 vessels take to the sea on the same day.

As soon as the ice moves out in the spring, bathymetric surveys are conducted. They provide the data needed to determine the scope of work required in each harbour to ensure the safety of users when the fisheries begin. A dredging schedule is then established with the contractor in charge of the work and work begins as soon as possible. Despite effective planning, work progress depends largely on weather conditions: a windy spring can delay dredging by several days or even a few weeks.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is aware of the impact that dredging activities have on the Magdalen Islands commercial fishing community and works hard to meet the needs of its clients in relation to dredging fishing harbours. Since winter 2014 was exceptionally harsh, let's hope Mother Nature will cooperate for the fishing season!

Sylvette Leblanc
Magdalen Islands Area

Projects Near Water: A Quick and Simple Self-Assessment to Protect Fisheries

Wharf by waterbody

The Fisheries Act requires that projects avoid causing serious harm to fish unless authorized by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This applies to work being conducted in or near waterbodies frequented by fish that are part of or that support a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery. Serious harm means "the death of fish or any permanent alteration to, or destruction of, fish habitat."

Many projects carried out in or near waterbodies frequented by fish are not likely to cause serious harm to the fish or impact species at risk. In such cases, proponents do not need to submit their projects to Fisheries and Oceans Canada for review before carrying out the work.

To help determine whether a project must be submitted to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a self-assessment tool is available to proponents. This tool presents types of waterbodies and projects that are not subject to review if appropriate mitigation measures are adopted. Proponents who are unsure about whether a project requires a Department's review can consult a qualified environmental professional.

Projects near water must also comply with the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act.

In all cases, it is the proponent's responsibility to ensure that all applicable federal, provincial and municipal requirements are respected.

For more information, please consult the Department's Projects Near Water webpage.

Dominic Boula
Ecosystems Management

One Step Closer to Recovery of Eastern Sand Darter

Eastern Sand Darter
E. Edmonson and H. Chrisp (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is announcing the publication of the Recovery Strategy for the Eastern Sand Darter, a species at risk, written in collaboration with several partners.

The distribution area for this small, threatened species of freshwater fish includes the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries, between Lac des Deux-Montagnes and Lac Saint-Pierre. The eastern sand darter seems to have limited adaptability and very specific requirements in terms of habitat. It is therefore very vulnerable to any factor that could alter its habitat, to the presence of exotic species and to a decrease in the availability of its prey.

The short-term objective of the recovery strategy is to ensure that the eastern sand darter populations are maintained and to prevent their decline. In the longer term, the objective is to reverse the decline and allow populations to grow. Currently, critical habitat has been designated in three areas:  L’Assomption and Ouareau rivers, the Richelieu River and the Aux Saumons River (near Dundee). Research is ongoing to learn more about the habitat used and then, complete critical habitat identification.

Several activities promoting Eastern Sand Darter recovery have also been undertaken by Quebec's Ministère des Forêts, de la faune et des Parcs, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and its collaborators, including surveys and awareness activities related to habitat protection, assessment of the Eastern Sand Darter's vulnerability to bait fishing and the distribution of an information sheet.

Jacinthe Beauchamp
Ecosystems Management

One Step Closer to Recovery of Spring Cisco

Spring Cisco
Michel Hénault, MNRF

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is announcing the publication of the Recovery Strategy for the Spring Cisco, a species at risk, written in collaboration with several partners.

The spring cisco, a small endangered species of freshwater fish is found only in Lac des Écorces, near Mont-Laurier. Unlike the other ciscos that spawn in the fall, the spring cisco spawns only in the spring. The main threat to the cisco's survival is the rainbow smelt, a species recently introduced to Lac des Écorces. The rainbow smelt feeds, among others, on the spring cisco and competes with it for habitat and food. The deterioration of the cisco's habitat is also a potential threat.

The recovery strategy aims to stop the decline and increase the size of the spring cisco population. To protect the cisco's habitat, Lac des Écorces was identified "critical habitat," meaninghabitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of this species.

Moreover, activities promoting spring cisco recovery have already been undertaken by local stakeholders, Quebec's Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Some of these activities include the massive removal of the Rainbow Smelt, inspection of shoreline state and septic facilities, and water quality awareness activities.

Andréanne Demers
Ecosystems Management

Conviction for Fisheries Act Violations

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Quebec Region, has released the names of fishermen who have received fines for violations of the Fisheries Act and continues to strictly enforce its zero tolerance policy for offenders. The Department has a mandate to protect and conserve fishery resources and is ever vigilant in its efforts to prevent poaching of marine resources.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada encourages the public to report poaching incidents by using the online form or calling 1-800-463-9057. All reports are confidential.