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The Quebec Region Bulletin
Volume 11– Number 1 – February - March 2008

Divestiture of Government of Canada Wharf at Portneuf-sur-Mer

On February 1st, the Government of Canada announced the divestiture of the federal wharf at Portneuf-sur-Mer. The agreement in principle concluded with the municipality will allow the latter to ensure the management and development of the wharf for the benefit of its citizens. A transfer of $600,000 to the municipality will allow repairs to the wharf facilities.

The divestiture, a result of close cooperation between Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the municipality, will help the development of tourism in the region. This project is implemented under the Fisheries and Oceans Canada Divestiture Program administered by the Small Craft Harbours Branch.

Picture - Martin St-Gelais, Jean-Marie Delaunay, Denis Lebel and Gervais Bouchard
Martin St-Gelais, North Shore Area Director, North Shore, Mr. Jean- Marie Delaunay, mayor of Portneuf-sur-Mer, Mr. Denis Lebel, Member of Parliament for Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean, who announced the divestiture, and Mr. Gervais Bouchard, Regional Director of the Small Craft Harbours Branch of Fisheries and Oceans Canada. - DFO M. Loiselle



A World Première in Oil Dispersion in Waters with Broken Ice

By Martin Blouin, Bernard Doyon and Nathalie Letendre

From January 27 to February 1, a novel experiment was conducted off the coast of Matane from the CCGS Martha L. Black. A team of scientists from the Canadian Coast Guard and Fisheries and Oceans Canada poured 600 litres of crude oil into the icy waters of the estuary!  The purpose of this unprecedented exercise was to field-test an innovative response method that minimizes the impact of oil spills in waters containing ice by reducing the environmental impacts of the pollution.

This method accelerates natural biodegradation processes and helps disperse the oil (light crude oil) in the form of very fine particles, using only non-toxic, environmentally neutral products.  These particles, called clay-oil aggregates, generally consist of oil droplets covered with fine minerals that prevent the oil slick from reforming on the water surface.  The formation of aggregates by strong wave action along shoreline environments is a well-known natural process. During the experiment off the coast of Matane, an attempt was made to enhance the formation of aggregates by deploying energy from the action of the propellers of the icebreaker, combined with the addition of fine clay minerals.

The results of the study will be known in several months, but the initial observations confirm the formation of clay-oil aggregates. The Canadian Coast Guard is constantly endeavouring to improve its oil spill response methods. The success of this experiment could mean an international breakthrough in the area of oil spill response in waters associated with ice.

Scientists had observed that, in some cases, oil spilled near coasts interacted with suspended particulate matter and was naturally dispersed by wave action over time. The natural process was known, but efforts had yet to be made to use it as an operational oil spill countermeasure. That is what the Canadian Coast Guard has done.

Picture - Recovery of measurement instruments (particle counter and turbidity meter) and of the underwater camera.
Recovery of measurement instruments (particle counter and turbidity meter) and of the underwater camera. - DFO M. Blouin



Freshwater Fish SARA Consultations

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is currently considering whether two freshwater fish, the Northern Brook Lamprey and the Lake Sturgeon, should be protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has recommended that the Northern Brook Lamprey be listed as a species of special concern. As for the Lake Sturgeon, COSEWIC designated 8 units, of which two are in Quebec. It recommended that the Great Lakes - Western St. Lawrence populations be listed as threatened and that the Southern Hudson Bay – James Bay populations be added as special concern. When a threatened species is added to the List of the Species at Risk Act, certain prohibitions come into effect and a recovery strategy must be developed in the two years following the listing. When a species of special concern is added to the list, a management plan must be prepared in the three years following the listing. 

You are invited to comment on whether the Northern Brook Lamprey and the Lake Sturgeon should be protected by the Species at Risk Act. For more information, or to provide comments, download the consultation workbooks at or contact:

Species at Risk Coordination Office
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Please provide your comments by April 25, 2008 .



DFO Reports Online

The Council of Fisheries and Oceans Canada Librarians is pleased to announce that over 1,000 departmental reports have been digitized and are now available online! For a list of all available online reports, go to: and click on “Libraries” in the left-hand vertical menu bar.

Digitized report series:

  • Canadian data reports of fisheries and aquatic sciences

  • Canadian data reports of hydrography and ocean sciences

  • Canadian industry reports of fisheries and aquatic sciences

  • Canadian manuscript reports of fisheries and aquatics sciences

  • Canadian technical reports of fisheries and aquatic sciences

  • Canadian technical reports of hydrography and ocean sciences

For more information, please contact Christine Lemay,
at the Maurice Lamontagne Institute Library:



New Science Advisory Reports on the Internet

The following science advisory reports are now available on the Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat’s Internet site, in the “Publications” section, 2007 series:

• Recovery Potential Assessment Report of Copper Redhorse (Moxostoma hubbsi) (2007/043)

• Assessment of the Greenland Halibut Stock in the Gulf of St. Lawrence   (4RST) in 2006 (2007/044)



Convictions for Fisheries Act Violations

By Martin Bourget

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Quebec Region, has released the names of fishermen who have received fines for violations of the Fisheries Act. DFO continues to strictly enforce its zero tolerance policy on violations of the Fisheries Act. 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 calling 1-800-463-9057 . All calls are confidential.




Sentencing date and fine


Guylaine Cloutier

Dominique Cloutier


Harvesting shellfish in a closed area.

December 3, 2007

$200 each

Julie Dionne

Robert Y. Arsenault


Harvesting shellfish in a closed area.

December 18, 2007


Luc Marchildon

Keaven Hovington


Harvesting softshell clams under the legal size of 51 mm.

January 7, 2008


François Kouri

Guy Lafrance

Alain Poitras


Possession of softshell clams under the legal size of 51 mm.

January 7, 2008

$300 each

François Kouri

André Parent


Fishing for Greenland halibut using nets with mesh smaller than the minimum legal size.

January 9, 2008


Luc Marchildon

Rosaire Ross


Non-compliance with 2007 whelk licence conditions by harvesting whelk using whelk traps without valid tags.

Non-compliance with 2006 whelk licence conditions by keeping whelks under the legal size of 70 mm.

January 10, 2008

$700 + a fine of $556.57

representing the percentage of illegal whelks, namely 67%.

François Kouri

Patrice Cyr


Possession of lobsters smaller than the legal size.

January 28, 2008


Luc Marchildo



Marine Commercial Fisheries in Quebec - 2007 Season Highlights

By Richard Lessard

At the end of October 2007, the value of landings, all species combined, at all Quebec ports, was $137 million, a rise of 18% from the same period the year before. The total volume of landings was approximately 53,000 tonnes, a decrease of 9%. The rise in value is due mainly to an increase in landed prices
for snow crab and lobster. The decrease in volume is due to a decrease in catches of a number of species, including snow crab, Gulf shrimp, molluscs and pelagic fish.


Table - Marine Commercial Fisheries in Quebec - 2007 Season Highlights



Underwater Discoveries in the St. Lawrence

By Karina Laberge

The 2007 bathymetric survey season, carried out from April to December by hydrographic teams from the Canadian Hydrographic Service led to the discovery of some very interesting underwater topographic features, as well as of a number of new wrecks. 

The discovery of the underwater remains of what is very likely a landslide near Saint-Joseph-de-la-Rive is very convincing.  The remnants of the slide stretch into the middle of the estuary.

Four wrecks were discovered near Île aux Coudres and Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies.  One is thought to be the Donnacona No. 1, a barge that had been transporting wood and disappeared with six crew members under mysterious circumstances on October 29, 1942 .  Located about 3.5 nautical miles (6.5 kilometres) off Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies, it measures about 45 metres by 10 and lies at a depth of 17 metres.  The wreck’s size and position closely match those mentioned in various historical documents, but until now, its exact location was unknown.  The other three wrecks have yet to be identified, but all have been reported to Transport Canada’s Receiver of Wrecks.

Finally, the Canadian Hydrographic Service observed that the bow of the wreck of the Nipigon had shifted a distance of about 25 metres from its original position.  A Canadian Navy destroyer, the Nipigon was deliberately scuttled in 2003 to form an artificial reef off Sainte-Luce in the Lower St. Lawrence. 

Several such discoveries have been made in the course of a seafloor-mapping project undertaken under Canada’s Oceans Action Plan, by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Natural Resources Canada.  Surveys were carried out aboard the science vessel Frederick G. Creed and the Guillemot, a hydrographic survey launch.  The goal of the project is to gain a better understanding of the marine environment and identify areas for protection.

Picture - Ship
DFO R. Côté



Proposed Recovery Strategy for the Blue Whale

By Hugues Bouchard

A recovery strategy for the blue whale will soon be available for comments on the public registry of the Species at Risk Act. Developed by the blue whale recovery team, comprised of a dozen members from various departments or organizations, this strategy identifies what must be done to stop or reverse the decline of the species. The goal of the recovery strategy is to reach a population of at least 1,000 mature blue whales.

The blue whale population in the Northwest Atlantic was added to the Species at Risk Act (SARA) list as an endangered species in January 2005. At this time, it is estimated that the number of mature animals of this population does not exceed 250 individuals. Commercial whale hunting historically carried out in the Atlantic reduced the population by about 70%; at least 1,500 blue whales were killed before the 1960s in eastern Canada waters.

In addition to historic hunting and natural sources of mortality (i.e., ice entrapments and predation), a total of nine threats to the recovery of blue whales are listed in this recovery strategy. Because of this population’s small size, even the activities affecting a small number of individuals can have a significant impact on the species’ survival in the Atlantic.

The recovery strategy identified a number of measures to stop the decline of the blue whale. Here are some of them:

• Ensure that all man-made activities that include intense acoustic sources (e.g., seismic exploration, military operations, explosions, drilling) be subject to rigorous examination in order to evaluate their direct and indirect impact on blue whales, and implement mitigation measures when required;

• Identify overlapping areas between shipping lanes and marine mammal concentration areas and assess the options in order to minimize blue whale exposure to vessel noise and risk of collisions;

• Promote the continuation of the moratorium on forage species until better knowledge is available in terms of their ability to sustain the blue whale population;

• Implement a blue whale carcass necropsy programme in eastern Canada in order to systematically identify the causes of mortality.

To comment on the proposed recovery strategy, visit or contact the Species at Risk Coordination Office, at 1-877-775-0848 or

Picture - Blue whale
MPO J.F. Gosselin


Among the threats described, two could represent a high risk for the blue whale population due to their probability of occurrence or acuity:

• Man-made noise which potentially alters blue whale habitat and behaviour;
• Food availability

Three could represent a medium risk:

• Persistent marine contaminants;
• Collisions with ships;
• Disturbance caused by touristic or scientific whale-watching activities.

Four could represent a lower risk:

• Physical damage caused by noise;
• Accidental entanglements in fishing gear;
• An epizootic;
• Toxic product spills.


This word is used when a disease affects an animal species or a group of species as a whole in a more or less extensive area. An epizootic can be defined as an epidemic that affects animals.



February - March 2008
Volume 11
Number 1

Published by:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Quebec Region
Communications Branch
104, Dalhousie St.
Quebec (Québec)  G1K 7Y7
Telephone: (418) 648-7747

Caroline Hilt

Viviane Haeberlé

Visual Coordinator:
Denis Chamard