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Quebec Bulletin
April-May 2017/Volume 20/Number 2


Changes for Species at Risk in Quebec

St. Lawrence belugas.
ROMM F. Gandolphe

The Government of Canada recently announced decisions about whether to list aquatic species on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Three of these species are found in Quebec.

The status of the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga population was changed from threatened to endangered. However, this change will not lead to additional protection for the species, since it already has the full protection of SARA. This change in status is the result of a slow decline in abundance observed since the early 2000s.

The small population of the lacs des Loups marins Harbour Seal subspecies, which lives only in fresh water, was added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk with the status of endangered species.

Based on an assessment, the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna was not listed. Protection measures other than those under the Species at Risk Act will be implemented to ensure the sustainable management of this species.

Species profiles:
Beluga (St. Lawrence Estuary population)
Harbour Seal (lacs des Loups marins subspecies)
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (western Atlantic population)

Quebec's Seasonal Search and Rescue Bases Re-open

Rescue boat

The arrival of spring brings warmer temperatures and melts the ice that has covered many of the region's navigable waterways throughout the winter. Each year, in early April, this transition brings about the re-opening of the Canadian Coast Guard search and rescue (SAR) stations. The Coast Guard has six SAR stations in strategic locations across Quebec. These are the primary response resources in the event of marine distress incidents. Each station is equipped with a lifeboat that is between 47 and 51 feet long, as well as a fast rescue craft.

In addition to its six SAR stations, the Canadian Coast Guard also operates six Inshore Rescue Boat (IRB) stations throughout the province. These are run by postsecondary students hired through the Federal Student Work Experience Program. They allow for quick response in areas heavily frequented by recreational boaters. Their activities will begin on May 31.


Seasonal SAR stations that operate
from April–November

Québec City

IRB stations that operations
from May–September

Bainsville (Ontario)
Pointe-aux-Anglais (Oka)

Man looking at a vessel in distress with binoculars
DFO  J. Pelletier-Bureau

Did you know?
In 2013, the Canadian Coast Guard forged a partnership with the Royal Canadian Navy, allowing naval reservists to be posted to the IRB Service as part of their training and professional development. A beneficial initiative for both organizations!

To get help
This summer, if you need help on the water, contact the Canadian Coast Guard by VHF radio on channel 16, or by dialling 418-648-3599, 1-800-463-4393 or *16 on your cell phone. Don't head out on the water without these numbers!

Fisheries Officers Attend an Event for Outdoor Enthusiast

A fishery officer discussing with visitors at the Department's booth

From March 16–19, 2017, two fisheries officers from Fisheries and Oceans Canada took part in the Salon Expert Chasse, Pêche + Camping, as well as in the Salon du bateau de Québec, both of which were held at the Centre de foires d'ExpoCité.

Over the four days, the officers talked with visitors and raised awareness about a number of topics like species at risk, marine mammals, shellfish harvesting, ice fishing, recreational and commercial fishing, and the seal hunt.

The role that fisheries officers play was also a topic of interest among visitors concerned about protecting fish resources. Many people mentioned they were planning to visit the East Coast in the coming months to try some freshwater and saltwater fishing. Chatting with the fisheries officers helped them to learn more about the regulations that apply to the various types of fisheries.

This was the Department's fifth time participating in this large event, which brings together nearly 250 exhibitors and attracts a diverse group of nature lovers each year. It's a great opportunity to raise public awareness about protecting marine resources and about why it's important to follow the rules that are in place in order to do so.

An International Working Group Looks Into the Decreasing Oxygen Levels in the Oceans

Video showing the launch and recovery of a rosettet
The rosette is used to take water samples at various depths. The analysis is used specifically to determine the level of oxygen that they contain.

At its general meeting in June 2016, UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission approved the creation of a new working group to analyze the issue of ocean deoxygenation. The Global Ocean Oxygen NEtwork (GO2NE), pursues the following goals:

  • Promoting oxygen observation systems on both local and global scales;
  • Synthesizing knowledge regarding the consequences of low oxygen content (hypoxia) on marine ecosystems.
  • Raising awareness among decision makers about the importance of dissolved oxygen in the oceans.

Dr. Denis Gilbert, an oceanographic climate researcher at the Maurice Lamontagne Institute, attended this group's first official meeting in Paris in September 2016. A plain language document is currently being written and will be finalized at a second meeting to be held in Monterey (California, United States) in September 2017. Meanwhile, science continues to advance, as evidenced by a February article in the periodical Nature, which reported a 2% decrease in global oxygen stocks since 1960. This may not seem like much of a decrease, but areas that are completely devoid of oxygen (anoxic) have allegedly quadrupled in volume. A comment from our researcher accompanied this study.

Convictions under the Fisheries Act

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Quebec Region, releases the names of fishers convicted of various offences under the Fisheries Act and continues to vigorously enforce its zero-tolerance policy towards 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 through its online form or by calling 1-800-463-9057. Reports are confidential.